NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Jobs in the Great Outdoors  (Read 2383 times)

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« on: October 25, 2013, 04:03:25 pm »
Any ideas?

My son is 15 and must in the next week hand in his initial choices for A' levels. Basically he hasn't got a clue. He doesn't really want to do them at all in many ways. He is a bright lad academically but finds school work very tedious and has trouble applying himself. At the moment he is able to get good results with very little effort ..... but he knows that that will change as he gets further into his studies.

His ideas fly from one thing to another. One minute running his own car business and the next he's a lawyer. ::)

He wants to try and earn a decent income but hates the thought of moving to the town (as many young people from here do). He cannot tolerate being indoors or sitting still. Physically very active . He cannot see himself working in an office or being indoors all day. That is the problem with school I think. He feels "trapped". He finds it hard to be in the "town".

So ..... any ideas for jobs that may suit???? We need help!!!! Don't know what to advise him.  :thinking:  Going round in circles and very little help from school careers advice.
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2013, 04:24:31 pm »
Maybe gamekeeping or countryside ranger if he is keen on animals and wildlife, or oil industry if he wants v well paid, or what about forestry? Or stonemasonry or joinery, up here both are a good living and well paid and respected, with plenty of work available.


  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2013, 04:24:42 pm »
Something agriculturally, maybe avoiding a levels and doing BTEC instead as a route to uni? You'd need to check that the Btec qualifies, think it does?


  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2013, 04:37:39 pm »
I might be slightly biased, but maybe vet?
If able to apply himself academically and interested in animals/working outdoors it might suit


  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Fife
    • Facebook
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2013, 05:36:02 pm »
If he has trouble focusing on his schoolwork I'd suggest he starts by considering which subjects he'd find most interesting - if he doesn't have a clear career plan and wants to do well then enjoying the subjects is probably the best motivation for now.  It isn't a particularly helpful answer in terms of what he'll go on to do with the subjects later but at least he'd have the best chance of good results for his 2 years of study..

Meantime encourage him to apply for volunteering positions, work experience etc in as wide a range of activities as he can, so he can have a good look at what various lines of work actually entail and talk to folk doing them.  Sometimes it isn't the exact match to what a job is but someone doing it that wishes, or intends, a slight diversion from that.  The experience will also look good on his CV as long as he commits and follows through, so shorter commitment with extension is better than a long term one he can't stick with.  Key skills to prove would be ability to show up on time every morning, politeness (to customers/public/coworkers/managers), following through on promises to do something, physical/mental skills relating to the post (particularly if he can later cross reference them to apply to something else) and willingness to try new things. 
Barleyfields Smallholding & Kirkcarrion Highland Ponies
Ellie Douglas Therapist


  • Joined Nov 2011
  • Middle ish of France
    • Cadeaux de La forge
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2013, 06:53:11 pm »
it's a dilema all us parents and our offspring face I guess. My take was did I pressure the kids to go thru the mincing machine and do A levels and go to a decent university and a profession that returns a "good income" and is socially acceptable.
OR live a life with less pressures and may not tick all the boxes of my generation that seemed so hung up on socially acceptable and rather dull lives.

My brightest child knew that he would get good A levels ( after straight A for no work) and then drift thru univ and fall into an office or simular job that he was not keen on.  He did one year of A level studies then took up a tarde that he stumbbled on when given job experience when 15. He believes that his generation will change their work and lifestyle several times over 40 years and that everyone should pursue their passion with no pressure from parents, family or peers. But then he is in a comfort zone to say that as he works in Mayfair, earns a lot and enjoys a social life centered around his musical talents.

I guess what I am saying is that if your son comes up with a passion for a carreer/ job then encourage him - a happy bunny will be a successful one too. How many posts on TAS have we read from people telling us how happy they are working their smallholding rather than the 9-5 job?

I hope it all turns out well for the lad.
Gifts and crafts made by us.


  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2013, 07:07:38 pm »
School careers are pretty US!  Try the local careers office instead.

Please consider B-tec courses rather than A levels.  My twin boys were both academically capable of A /B grade A levels but neither could be bothered to put in the work needed to jump from GCSE's to A level.   One managed a grade e  maths   the other eventually after dropping out at AS got on a B-Tec  in public services finishing with a very good merit which got him in the RAF.      BTecs will get into a lot of Uni courses especially on more practical courses.

B Tec's are done in allsorts  of outdoor stuff     
 outdoor adventure sports,
 public services has much outdoor stuff in and also does law if he has shown an interest in that too (my daughter also did B-Tec public services got a distinction in the law bit)  ,
countryside management,
 horticulture (which is currently very undersupplied with bright young people to develop the high tech stuff that is now part of the industry)

Get along to the local FE college and landbased college  to one of their open sessions for informal chats.  He might just get inspired?

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.
Nantygroes  facebook page

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2013, 08:01:01 pm »
Thanks all.

MAK, you sum it up very nicely. Our son is very aware that there are different ways of living and really values things that go with a life style that is a bit different from the "accepted" . Think he is also aware that he has to make a decent living and that a decent income might at the end of the day be needed to some extent in order that he can achieve the lifestyle he wants. Same boat most of us are in I suppose.

We are taking the approach that he must be happy with the lifestyle he chooses and that is most important. School very much encouraging the academic route.

Backinwellies, that is what we are discussing at the moment. I did tell him he would struggle with GCSE's but so far he has managed to drift through with minimum effort. As you say I think A levels will be a different matter. Maybe he will up his game when he has to :-\  .... who knows. Will check out colleges as you suggest.

Ellied, he has read your post and will look for volunteer work ..... good idea. He could just take what interests him .... one he thinks sounds interesting is Politics .... and hopefully in a couple of years he may know more what he wants.

FSMnutter ..... a vet, er no. Not willing to study to the level that I would imagine is needed. I wanted to be a vet and my careers teacher told me that I was not suitable. I was a girl and wouldn't be strong enough to deal with farm animals and might have to work at night when it was dark. And I listened :roflanim:
Well too late now but my 11 year old has said for several years now that she wants to be a vet and specialize in farm animals or possibly exotics. She has just started high school and working really hard with that in mind.

My lad is reading all the posts so thanks again.


  • Joined Sep 2010
  • uk
  • Says it as it is. don't like it don't look
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2013, 06:24:53 am »
Our opinion if he is ok at Maths, English and a science or combined science they will stand him in good stead for anything.
Pat him & yourself on the back sounds like he has grown up with good worth ethics, that counts for a lot these days, to find someone that actually wants to put a days work in is becoming a rare commodity in itself.   :thumbsup:
Good luck


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2013, 09:29:12 am »
Not outdoors but maybe something like plumbing where he wouldn't be stuck in one place? All the plumbers I know always seem to be pretty booked up and earn a decent living.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2013, 09:51:59 am »
You've had some great advice already  :thumbsup:

Having been a lazy student to whom it all came very easily myself, I do completely echo ellied's suggestion that he chooses subjects that interest him.  When I look back I did work very very hard at some things, but never even realised I was working as it was what I wanted to be doing at the time!

Mentioning politics and being a lawyer would suggest that humanities would be the focus of some of the study, at least?

Volunteering is another great suggestion, not only can he experience things that will tell him what sort of work he enjoys but he will also meet people both in and out of the mainstream and hear their life stories.  As well as volunteering in work-oriented spheres he may also gain from WWOOFing, VSO (once he's 18), etc.

A few years back a youngster I knew decided to do her school work experience at a legal office.  Several of us guffawed at the idea of this particular young lady going into law, but we were completely wrong - she absolutely loved it and has knuckled down and pursued that course ever since, including taking an A level in Law outside her school curriculum.  If we hadn't all seen her so lit up by the work experience I think it likely she may have been pushed in other directions.  ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2013, 01:56:48 pm »
OP's boy sounds a lot like me.... ;D

I would suggest the opposite of most - if he can get good grades at A-Level, do them. Hopefully he has subjects he likes. Then, I would choose a degree based on his favourite subject (if he has one) avoid vocational training, because he doesn't know what he wants to do, keep it as purely academic as you can, because you can do vocational traning later.

I loved Biology, so I did Biology, Chemistry and History A-Levels (History was the subject I was actually "best" at).

I then Did a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology and a MSc in Aquaculture.

Like your boy, I never really 'knew' what I wanted to do until I did my masters so I kept my options as open as possible by doing academic things I actually liked and had a thorughly good time doing them and not really thinking about careers.

People that followed similar paths to me now are in CEFAS, The EA, do consultancy work for aquatic environmental assessments, some did PhDs, one is very senior in the "Sealife" group, there are fish farmers, some went to the tropics to farm tiger prawns etc...

I'm a sheep farmer........ ;D

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Jobs in the Great Outdoors
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2013, 12:39:56 am »
On the other hand, although I went to a grammar school, I was never particularly interested in studying. My main aim was to get married and have children. I left school at 16 having sailed through English O-level and struggling through three others, did a variety of jobs (ok it was easier then to find work) that I didn't much enjoy, then got married and had my children. I worked from when the youngest was 9 months in our own business as a craft worker, then went into care work until, at the age of 45 I decided I wanted to go to university. I did A-levels at evening class over the next year, went to uni and gained my BA (Hons) and followed that with a Masters. I then did my PGCE and spent the next few years teaching which I absolutely loved. I was sorry to give it up but my health won't allow me to work now but I did carry on until I reached retirement age.



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