The training of agricultural mechanics has followed a well worn path over the years, and the present system has brought many capable mechanics into the trade who are well suited to tending to modern machinery.

However, the major tractor manufactures in the UK have been working on their own training programmes, which they are free to call apprenticeships – a term that they are unable to use in Ireland, although the intent and purpose is much the same.

Pallaskenry hosts course

AGCO are the first out of the traps over here with what they describe as “The AGCO Technical Qualification Programme Ireland”.

This is being implemented in collaboration with the Salesian Agricultural College in Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick, and the Technological University of Shannon (TUS), and will be Ireland’s only manufacturer-led technical qualification programme.

Pallaskenry trainee technicians
The first AGCO trainee technicians at Pallaskenry.

The company is taking this step due to the demands of modern machinery, which is becoming ever more reliant on digital technology and other engineering developments, and this is being recognised in delivering the course.

The course will see aspiring Irish agricultural technicians attain a level 6 higher-certificate in Engineering in Agricultural Mechanisation, and progress into positions within the AGCO dealer network across Ireland.

It is to be run in conjunction with five other colleges across England, Scotland, and Wales, where it is already enjoying great success.

AGCO technology

The training still covers the basics of farm machinery but the technology aspect will be present from the early stages with AGCO diagnostic equipment and software being used throughout.

Pallaskenry workshop
Facilities at Pallaskenry include an up to date tractor fleet and modern components

In the equivalent UK scheme, the students not only qualify as land based engineering technicians, but also attain specific training in AGCO CVT and hydrostatic transmissions, AGCO Power engines and online training.

The programme has already gained a great deal of interest with all of the available places being filled by first-year trainee technicians from AGCO dealers throughout Ireland.