The Animal and Plant Health Agency is recruiting over 100 new posts in its Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate in preparation for an increase in activity at the end of the EU transition period on 31 December.

The government said the announcement was likely to represent a first step, with the potential for further recruitment later in the year.

Plant health inspectors play a key role in maintaining and promoting a high plant health status in England and Wales. Their work helps Defra's aim of protecting and promoting plant health within trade, agriculture and the natural environment.

The roles are varied and include tasks such as inspecting crops and fresh produce, helping to organise emergency measures to control outbreaks of pests or diseases, certifying items such as plant, seeds and grains for export, and ensuring required documentation is in order.

Ian Hewett, service delivery and EU exit director, said: 'This recruitment is a critical part of our preparedness for the UK’s final departure from the EU. The additional PHSI capacity will enable us to meet our goal of facilitating trade and maintaining our biosecurity.'

The roles are all offered on a 24-month basis as a fixed-term appointment to external candidates, or as a loan to internal candidates from within the Civil Service, with the potential for extension or permanency. Secondments can be offered to NDPB employees.

Candidates who don’t have the qualifications listed in the job adverts but are able to demonstrate in their application the required technical knowledge gained through experience will be considered for interview. Successful applicants will receive tailored learning and development, and the closing date for the current round of vacancies is Thursday 6 August 2020.