Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators operate agricultural, forestry and horticultural plant to clear and cultivate land, sow and harvest crops, and fell trees and move logs.

    You can work as an Agricultural, Forestry or Horticultural Plant Operator without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. Training is available through VET (Vocational Education and Training). A course in rural machinery operations or harvesting and haulage might be helpful.

    Tasks

    • preparing and positioning plant for operation
    • operating tractor-drawn and self-propelled plant to plough land and sow, fertilise, cultivate and harvest crops, and avoid damaging crops
    • adjusting speed, height and depth of implements
    • operating plant to hold, lift and cut trees
    • operating attachments to lift, swing, release and sort trees and logs, and operating auxiliary plant such as chipping machines and log splitting machines
    • feeding felled trees into processors to strip limbs and cut into logs and loading logs onto stockpiles and into trucks
    • keeping log tallies and writing work reports
    • servicing plant and performing minor repairs

    More about Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators

    All Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators

    All Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators

    • $1,500 Weekly Pay
    • Strong Future Growth
    • Lower unemployment Unemployment
    • 17,600 workers Employment Size
    • Lower skill Skill level rating
    • 82% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 49 hours Average full-time
    • 43 years Average age
    • 6% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years:
    from 17,600 in 2018 to 19,800 by 2023.
    Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
    There are likely to be around 14,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 2,800 a year).

    • Size: This is a medium sized occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
    • Location: Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators work in many parts of Australia. Queensland has a large share of workers.
    • Industries: Most work in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; Public Administration and Safety; and Manufacturing.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,500 per week (similar to the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: Most work full-time (82%, much higher than the average of 66%).
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 49 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 43 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
    • Gender: 6% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
    YearNumber of Workers
    200815600
    200911600
    201014100
    201112800
    201217300
    201313800
    201415200
    201513000
    201614000
    201711500
    201817600
    202319800

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
    EarningsAgricultural, Forestry and Horticultural OperatorsAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings15001460

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing74.6
    Public Administration and Safety6.6
    Manufacturing3.9
    Administrative and Support Services3.9
    Other Industries11.0

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateAgricultural, Forestry and Horticultural OperatorsAll Jobs Average
    NSW22.831.6
    VIC18.125.6
    QLD32.020.0
    SA10.57.0
    WA10.610.8
    TAS5.32.0
    NT0.51.0
    ACT0.21.9

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketAgricultural, Forestry and Horticultural OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-194.0-5.05.0
    20-2411.0-9.39.3
    25-3420.7-22.922.9
    35-4418.3-22.022.0
    45-5421.7-21.621.6
    55-599.9-9.09.0
    60-648.0-6.06.0
    65 and Over6.4-4.24.2

    Education Level

    Highest Level of Education (% Share)

    Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationAgricultural, Forestry and Horticultural OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0.3-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree2.3-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma3.7-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV30.1-21.121.1
    Year 1216.0-18.118.1
    Year 118.0-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below39.6-12.512.5

    You can work as an Agricultural, Forestry or Horticultural Plant Operator without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. Training is available through VET (Vocational Education and Training). A course in rural machinery operations or harvesting and haulage might be helpful.

    Checks, licences and tickets

    You may need:

    • forklift licence
    • manual drivers licence
    • medium rigid (MR) driver's licence
    • heavy ridged (HR) driver's licence
    • first aid certificate
    • Psychometric or aptitude tests

    Thinking about study or training?

    Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

    • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
    • You might be interested in Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation & Land Management VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

    Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

    The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

    Employers look for Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators who are trustworthy and responsible, can communicate with a variety of people and have good team work skills.

    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Food Production

      77% Skill level

      Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.

    2. Chemistry

      63% Skill level

      Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.

    3. Administration and Management

      57% Skill level

      Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

    4. Design

      55% Skill level

      Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

    5. Building and Construction

      53% Skill level

      Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 45-2091.00 - Agricultural Equipment Operators.

    Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

    Filter Work Environment

    Demands

    The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

    1. Face-to-Face Discussions

      100% Important

      How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

    2. Outdoors, Exposed to Weather

      96% Important

      How often do you work outdoors, exposed to the weather?

    3. In an Open Vehicle or Equipment

      95% Important

      How often do you work in an open vehicle (e.g., a tractor)?

    4. In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment

      95% Important

      How often do you work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car)?

    5. Telephone

      90% Important

      How often do you talk on the telephone?

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 45-2091.00 - Agricultural Equipment Operators.

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