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Agriculture- Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma - Plumpton at Plumpton College

Course description

Level 3 Extended Diploma: you complete all 18 subject areas to study


Designed for people with some experience of the industry. The course covers many aspects of modern agriculture and allows you to develop your skills in a supportive and practical environment on the College’s large and varied estate that includes modern examples of extensive and intensive farming practices.

The second year is crucial as it gives you the opportunity to gain employment experience whilst developing and learning new skills. Many students choose to work abroad during this year in Australia and New Zealand or other countries where the College has employment links.

The final year develops your management skills as you take on a supervisory role for routines and learn about planning the business. Overall, the course equips you with the necessary skills for taking responsibility as your career develops.

Throughout the course, there is an opportunity to gain additional qualifications which are essential for work on modern arable and mixed farms. These include certificates in Rough Terrain Fork Lift Truck Use, PA1 & PA2 Sprayer Certificates and many more to add to your qualification base.

Course content

Year 1

Indicative Programme Content (*compulsory units for some Diploma levels only)

During the first year of the programme the aim is to lay down the fundamental principles of agriculture. This will be delivered through practical skills development on the College farm as well as through taught practical and theory based sessions. As the year unfolds you will build confidence and competence in a range of agricultural skills, practices, activities, and duties. Modules include:

  • Plant science *
  • Soil science *
  • Sheep production
  • Livestock husbandry
  • Dairy production
  • Crop production
  • Pig production
  • Grassland management
  • Machinery operations
  • Estate skills
Year 2

The second year provides an opportunity for learners to practice these skills through an extended period of work experience. Many choose to do so in subject areas where they see themselves in the long term which allows learners to seek employment across the UK and further afield around the world. This not only provides a fantastic industry experience but also offers the opportunity to meet new people and experience a different way of life.

  • Industry experience *
Year 3

The final year allows learners to combine all elements of the previous two year's studies and start to develop the business and decision making skills required to operate and run modern farming enterprises. Overall the Level 3 agriculture programme provides a diverse range of opportunities and real employment openings in general modern agriculture.

Year 3 – has the opportunity to specialise in a livestock or crops based pathways
  • Investigative project *
  • Business management for the land based sector *
  • Manage agricultural environments
  • Livestock breeding & nutrition
  • Beef production
  • Workshop skills
  • Use agricultural spreaders and sprayers
  • Agricultural forage crop production
  • English & maths
Additional Qualifications
  • LANTRA Rough Terrain Forklift 
  • NPTC PA1
  • NPTC PA2


Entry requirements

Students will normally be at least 16 years old on entry and have at least one of the following:

  • Studied GCSE level qualifications (achieving 4 passes at A –C for the full diploma) including English and maths
  • A level 2 qualification
  • Appropriate interest and relevant experience

Mature applicants who do not possess any of the above qualifications will be considered individually.

Financial information

Tuition Fee:

  • 16-18 exempt

Assessment Fee:

  • 16-18 exempt

Facility Fee:

  • Cost for day students- £120 per year
  • Cost for residential students- £200 per year

The facility fee is applicable to all our full time FE students and this is paid annually before you arrive for your enrolment and induction. This fee assists in providing non-educational facilities which include security, sports amenities, membership of the Sports and Social Club, minibuses, Wi Fi access, television room, on-site medical support and free car parking subject to availability.

For students ages 19 plus please contact Admissions for further fee information:

01273 892082

Future opportunities

Future Opportunities

Successful completion of this course may allow progression onto a foundation degree or degree programme such as those offered at Plumpton or into employment in the industry in any number of exciting roles including:

  • Assisting a herdsman on a dairy herd or Pig Unit 
  • Tractor driver or contractor operator 
  • Shepherd
  • Trainee Agronomist or Nutritionist
  • Assistant Farm Manager
  • Self Employed contractor
  • Shepherd
  • Tractor driver and machinery operator
  • Dairy herdsperson
  • Pig unit assistant manager
  • Trainee agronomist
  • General farm worker
  • Progression to an HE course

Further information


Come and discover our excellent agriculture facilities at Plumpton - set in the backdrop of the beautiful South Downs. You’ll find the latest state of the art equipment plus all the different types of farmland for you to experience here at Plumpton. 

  • Lots of space for you to work in

Our 780-hectare commercial farming estate gives you the opportunity to experience different livestock and arable farming.

  • The latest equipment for you to discover

We’ve got a modern 300 cow dairy unit complete with 36:36 Herringbone milking parlour where you’ll gain hands-on experience.

  • An extensive range of livestock for you to experience

You’ll get to work with our Sussex beef cattle, sow pig unit plus our extensively managed flock of 550 sheep.

  • The perfect environment for you to study

You’ll enjoy practical lessons where you’ll gain hands-on farming experience in our modern classrooms and farming sites.

Please note that this is a 3 year qualification. Your second year you will be off campus on your placement.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 17 November 2017
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Key information

Contact details


  • More information
    • The main Plumpton College site is located at the foot of the picturesque South Downs National Park. Six miles from Lewes, the County Town of East Sussex.

      The College specialises in providing a wide range of land-based courses in partnership with schools, for those in further education and for those in higher education. The College degree courses are validated by the University of Brighton.

      The range of courses cover all land-based provision including Agriculture, Horticulture, Floristry, Equine, Agricultural and Horticultural Machinery, Metalsmithing, Animal Care, Countryside Management, Forestry and Arboriculture, Sports (Outdoor Adventure) and Wine and Viticulture.