New Holland Agriculture has joined forces with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Oatridge campus to train the land-based engineers of the future.
In a move to strengthen the future of the agricultural industry, New Holland has announced a new four-year agricultural engineering qualification for Scottish school leavers.
The scheme hopes to encourage anyone with an interest in land-based machinery to consider a career in land-based engineering. The qualification balances theory with practical tasks including servicing and maintenance on a wide range of equipment.
Mark Barnes, technical support manager for New Holland, has a long history in technical support and training and support in the land based sector, and will be working closely with SRUC to run the apprenticeship scheme, supporting the college with technical training and equipment.
Mr Barnes says: “There is a general lack of people coming into the agricultural machinery industry. We need to ensure that our dealerships are equipped for the future. The best way to do that is to invest in young people and offer them viable routes into the industry.”
The programme focuses heavily on practical work-place learning, balancing classroom studies with block release. The time spent in a practical work environment gradually increases as the course progresses.
Applicants can begin their apprenticeship by studying for a year to attain the National Certificate in Land-based Engineering, and then undertake a further two years study to gain their SVQ level 2 once employment within the agricultural industry has been secured. If a dealership is willing to employ an applicant without a National Certificate they can proceed straight to the SVQ.
Mr Barnes says: “The career path for those undertaking this qualification is diverse and future proof. Many people do not realise that land-based engineering is one of the most high-tech sectors in the world.
There is the potential to progress from an apprentice to the New Holland certification programme and, through further training and experience, on to become one of New Holland’s Master Technicians. There is a misconception that technicians are low paid and that their working conditions are not ideal, but that is not the case. The pay is competitive and the much of their time is spent in the countryside.”
The new four-year qualification offered at SRUC is City and Guilds approved and will mirror its well-established English counterpart, which New Holland has been running successfully for more than 15 years at Reaseheath College in Cheshire.
Those wishing to find out more about the apprenticeship scheme should approach their local New Holland dealership.