Twenty eight students recently made their first step towards a career as agricultural machinery technicians, at Induction Days held at Reaseheath College in Cheshire and SRUC Barony near Dumfries for the latest group of apprentices to join the CLAAS Agricultural Technician Apprenticeship scheme.
The new intake of students come from CLAAS dealerships throughout the UK and Ireland. It is in order to meet the high demand for places on its Apprenticeship scheme that CLAAS is the only major machinery manufacturer to offer apprenticeship courses both in England and in Scotland.
Of the 16 students at Reaseheath and 12 Barony students, over the next four years one will be studying on the specific Part Apprenticeship course created two years ago and the remainder will work towards achieving an Extended Diploma in Landbased Technology.
These are a high level vocational qualification that is provided by IMI Awards, who specialise in providing qualifications and accreditations for the automotive and related industries. They have worked closely with CLAAS to ensure that the courses meets their rigorous training requirements. Over the course of their Apprenticeship, the students will be continuously assessed for their competence and skills, using both work-based evidence and e-portfolios.
For the first three years, the Apprentices will receive comprehensive training whilst at College, as well as CLAAS product and general technical training while working with their dealership. They will also spend time training both at the CLAAS UK headquarters in Saxham, Suffolk, and for those selected, may have the opportunity to visit the CLAAS Group headquarters in Harsewinkel, Germany.
In their final, fourth year, the Technician Apprentices will also undertake additional advanced technical and industry training, so that by the time they qualify they will be eligible for LTA 2 status.
This is just the start of their training with CLAAS. Having qualified, the young technicians will then have access to ongoing training and development aligned to the Landbased Technician Accreditation (LTA) scheme. Having gained LTA 2 status, with further training and dealer experience, they will have the opportunity to reach product specific LTA 3 (Master Mechanic) status before going onto the highest LTA 4 (Master Technician) level.