A record-breaking total of 66 young parts and service technicians are being trained in this year’s John Deere Ag Tech, Parts Tech and Turf Tech advanced apprenticeship programmes, the highest total intake since the first Ag Tech induction in 1992.
The group includes for the first time apprentices from Ireland, the John Deere Forestry division and the Wirtgen road construction business, which Deere acquired at the end of 2017, as well as more female apprentices than ever before (five altogether). These annual, award-winning programmes are run in partnership with the dealer network and national training provider ProVQ at the purpose-built John Deere Apprentice Training Centre in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire in the UK.
“There’s never been a better time to consider an apprenticeship with John Deere,” says the company’s training centre manager Allan Cochran. “The increasing levels of automation used throughout our products, including artificial intelligence, advanced electronics, satellite guidance systems and telematics, give us the ability to diagnose and repair machines without even laying a hand on them. All this technology, as well as cutting edge engine and transmission design, means the need for skilled people within our dealerships is ever present.
“It’s not just about the machines either – sophisticated parts and service systems require the same skills too. The John Deere dealer of tomorrow is a challenging business, with a wide range of opportunities and exciting prospects for talented, enthusiastic people from any background.
“Like all apprenticeships, the programmes combine on-the-job training with paid employment at the dealership, leading to nationally recognised and valued qualifications. Apprentices undergo fully supported training, assessment and guidance, gaining valuable workplace skills by undertaking practical tasks and experiencing real-life challenges. They also spend eight weeks each year at the John Deere Apprentice Training Centre and at our head office in Langar.
“We are delighted to expand the programmes for the first time to our dealers in Ireland. This will allow us to deliver the same consistent, high quality apprentice training across the UK & Irish network, to the benefit of all our customers in both countries.”
John Deere’s three-year Ag Tech and Turf Tech and two-year Parts Tech apprenticeships involve students being trained in engineering, electronics, hydraulics, diagnostics, communication skills, computing, sales and marketing. The programmes lead to IMI Level 2 & 3 Diplomas in Landbased Engineering and Vehicle Parts Competence, and registration at LTA Intermediate level in the industry’s Landbased Training Accreditation scheme.
In subsequent years qualified technicians undergo further education and adult training within the John Deere University programme, on a career path that can ultimately lead to the highest possible LTA Master Technician accreditation.
Now in its 28th year, Ag Tech was the first such scheme to be introduced in the UK and won a National Training Award at the end of 1997, the only one ever made to an agricultural machinery apprenticeship programme. John Deere is also the only agricultural and turf machinery company to have been recognised as one of the best 100 employers for school leavers in the UK.
Since the first Ag Tech programme started in 1992, approaching 800 apprentices have graduated through the three main schemes and are now working in the company’s nationwide dealer network.