Access to the latest tractors will prepare students even better for the future

  • A strategic partnership between AGCO dealer, Crawfords Group – comprising Crawfords, Agwood and Crawfords Automotive, and Plumpton College in East Sussex will ensure that students and apprentices gain practical experience and training on modern tractors with the latest technology, fully aligned with the needs of the industry

Crawfords represents Valtra and Fendt from four depots looking after customers in East and South-East England. The network also includes three Agwood depots representing Massey Ferguson in Kent, and East and West Sussex.

Plumpton College provides land-based and environmental education and training to 5,000 students on full- and part-time courses annually. The mixed livestock and arable farm on 780ha includes a large dairy herd, as well as a state-of-the-art high welfare pig production unit, and sheep/beef grazing on the South Downs. As the home of UK wine industry education and training, the college also has a successful vineyard which produces still and sparkling wines, as well as its own garden based in Brighton.

All College students learn at the modern college premises and apprentices gain practical training during work placements combined with their full-time employment in local, regional and national businesses. This year, there are over 500 students enrolled through apprenticeships, and the college apprenticeship programme recently received the highest ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating.

The initial three-year agreement between Crawfords Group and Plumpton College means that students will have three of the latest Valtra tractors always available for technical and operator training, based at the college farm. The first delivery, in mid-May this year, included two N5-series models and a G-5 series, two with powershift transmissions and one with a Direct CVT unit allowing operators to become familiar with both types of system. One tractor has Valtra’s SmartTouch Extend GPS guidance system fitted, which will be transferred to new tractors as the fleet is updated twice each year.

“We already enjoyed an excellent relationship with Plumpton College as some of our own staff were trained there,” explained Crawfords Group Business Director, Alan Haines. “There are currently two apprentices from the college working at our Billingshurst, West Sussex depot. They are excellent and clearly benefit from the mix of college and dealer workshop-based training.

“The Crawford family and business managers all believe strongly that working with and encouraging young people is key to the future success of our agricultural industry. For many years we have worked with colleges employing apprentices and engaged with Young Farmers Clubs.”

Alan stressed that the partnership with Plumpton College will be mutually beneficial. Students will gain experience operating the latest AGCO tractors and the industry will benefit from operators and engineers already familiar with state-of-the-art technology when they leave education and start work. Crawfords Group dealer staff will also have access to the college-based tractors for customer demonstrations and operator familiarisation on the college farm, and college facilities including the well-equipped meeting rooms will be used for staff and customer presentations and training.