From education to employment

Continual development key as AGCO Academy apprentices collect awards

Agricultural Engineering Apprentices and Parts Apprentices recognised during award ceremony.

A focus on continued professional development and career progression was the key message as 11 AGCO apprentices collected their awards having successfully completed the industry focused courses during a lavish presentation and dinner at the Forest of Arden Hotel, near Birmingham.

In the 18th year of AGCO’s industry recognised dealer apprenticeship scheme, in partnership with WCG (formerly known as Warwickshire College Group), the award ceremony was combined with presentations for the Vehicle Parts apprenticeship programme, run in conjunction with Reaseheath College in Cheshire.

Independent consultant, and author of engineering apprenticeship programmes across many industries including motorsport, aerospace and agriculture, David Kirschner welcomed apprentices and guests to the event by congratulating the recently qualified engineers on their career choice.

“This industry provides one of the best engineering apprenticeship schemes, providing the foundations to build your career.” Mr Kirschner explained. “But, your learning experience has only just begun.

“Agriculture is a vital industry supplying food for this country, and we will always need food. Therefore, with the right work ethic, job security will never be an issue. I have learnt that there is not one machine man can’t damage!”

Mr Kirschner continued to explain the importance to the industry of bringing in fresh, young talent with new ideas, and the need to treat this juncture as a stepping stone to continued learning and development. He noted how industry, and AGCO in particular, recognise the important contribution apprentices make to agriculture.

“The standard cost to bring a new apprentice through is £75,000. That is how much is invested, so it demonstrates the value and significance of apprenticeships,” said Mr Kirschner.

The awards were presented by William Judge, the Massey Ferguson National Sales Manager for UK & Ireland, and once again saw success for AGCO dealer B&B Tractors, as Bradley Smith became the third employee in a row to collect the Apprentice of the Year award.

Luke McDaid, who works at the Attleborough branch of Thurlow Nunn Standen Ltd (TNS) received the Most Improved Apprentice of the Year, while Jack Huckstep of Lister Wilder of Wallingborough, Oxfordshire was voted Apprentices Apprentice of the Year by his fellow peers.

Mary Wallbank was awarded the Best Parts Apprentice of the Year, commenting,

“Completing the AGCO apprenticeship has really helped me deepen my knowledge in the agricultural industry but also enabled me to establish new links within the industry itself, this has been a huge benefit in my current job but also will help when it comes to moving forward in my career.”

Mary was joined by Antony Hempstead of Chandlers Farm Equipment in Belton, Grantham, as he also collected his Parts Apprentice Award.

Tim Hutchinson, course leader of the AGCO apprenticeship scheme at WCG commented,

“One of the key benefits of the scheme and the course is that it is a combined effort. The apprentices on the course want to succeed and they can see a clear career path. Their dealerships and AGCO therefore equally benefit from committed and skilled technicians joining their teams at the end of their training.”

Recognising the achievements of all of the apprentices, Mr Hutchinson commented, “It is a pleasure to celebrate this day with all of the award winners, as well as the individual prize winners. It is not always about being top of the class academically, but engaging in the apprenticeship and bringing new skill-sets into the workplace and your dealership. Although we have three individual prize winners, everyone can take great pride in their achievements. But remember, the learning process has only just begun.”

The agricultural engineers’ apprenticeship scheme combines classroom and workshop-based training at WCG’s Moreton Morrell campus, with practical on-going training at the apprentices’ dealership.

Reaseheath College’s Vehicle Parts apprenticeship is a three-year programme, and a partnership between learner, employer and the college. Each apprentice attends college at regular intervals on a block-release basis combined with training in the workplace. During the programme the apprentices will have access to a range of opportunities to help them gain the experience, skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the industry.

Jacqui Harvey, business development officer at Reaseheath College said,

“We have had the pleasure of working in partnership with AGCO over the last five years and have celebrated the success of many apprentices to include Mary and Antony this year.

“We would like to wish both Mary and Antony well as they progress and move forward with their next stage of their chosen career pathway.”

Anthony Linfield, AGCO’s training development manager said,

“The AGCO apprenticeship schemes offer a real opportunity to gain knowledge and skills at college as well as gaining valuable hands-on experience in the workplace.

“Time-served land-based engineers that progress and demonstrate high levels of expertise are a tremendous asset to all of us in the industry.”

All of the apprentices also received a specially dedicated toolkit supplied by the awards sponsor, Draper Tools, as a lasting reminder of the skills they have developed on the course. Draper Tools has a long association with the apprenticeship scheme, once again sponsoring the awards ceremony.

Also collecting awards during the ceremony were Jack Adcock and Shane Hilton of Chandlers Farm Equipment Ltd, Henry O’Brien of Redlynch Agricultural Engineers, Josh Stephney of MST, Chris Underwood of TNS and Kai Farrow of Wilfred Scruton.

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About AGCOAGCO (NYSE: AGCO) is a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural solutions and supports more productive farming through its full line of equipment and related services.  AGCO products are sold through five core brands, Challenger®, Fendt®, GSI®, Massey Ferguson® and Valtra®, supported by Fuse® precision technologies and farm optimization services, and are distributed globally through a combination of approximately 3,000 independent dealers and distributors in more than 140 countries. Founded in 1990, AGCO is headquartered in Duluth, GA, USA. In 2015, AGCO had net sales of $7.5 billion. 

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