Plant Health and Seed Inspector

What we do and who we are

At the Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate (PHSI), we preserve plant health status in the UK, benefiting people, the environment and the economy.

We contain, quarantine and quarantine plant pests, secure high-quality planting material and facilitate trade through the provision of plant health certification. Part of what we do also involves training the general public as well as governmental and non-governmental bodies in plant biosecurity.

As part of the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), we help to protect both animal and plant health across the country. We also support Defra’s strategy to ‘provide a better place for living’ through our work.

Our roles

Our inspectors play a crucial role in protecting plant health across trade, agriculture and the environment. They inspect imported plants, planting produce and material to make sure everything complies with the UK’s import regulations. They also prevent the introduction of any non-native, potentially harmful organisms.

Typical duties for an inspector include surveying crops, carrying out soil samples and excluding any quarantine plant pests that could harm the UK’s ecosystems. Inspectors often work in locations that see a high volume of imports such as ports or airports.

Our ideal candidates are experienced in professional horticulture, with excellent plant, pest and disease identification skills and an understanding of biosecurity measures.

You might be qualified to HND level or higher in a horticultural, agricultural or biological science or already have some industry experience.


We also offer Regulatory Compliance Officer Apprenticeships, which give you a comprehensive understanding of regulatory frameworks and the skills needed to work within inspection and compliance.

Our apprenticeships are the equivalent of a foundation degree and last 18 months. You will study six main units in the course, including regulation, legal frameworks and powers, legislation, partnering with organisations, risk assessment and compliance monitoring.

Apprenticeships are delivered by high-quality providers via online learning, remote delivery and face-to-face workshops. You’ll also get to have regular meetings with a coach and a line manager who will both ensure your progress is on track.