Crawfords Group has signed an initial three year agreement with Plumpton College to supply tractors to aid education of students and apprentices at the East Sussex college.

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.

In mid-May, three Valtra tractors will be delivered to the college, a pair of N5 models and a G5.

“We already enjoyed an excellent relationship with Plumpton College as some of our own staff were trained there,” says Alan Haines, business director at Crawfords Group. “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.”

James Parrett, regional sales manager and Valtra brand manager was instrumental in setting up the new partnership.

“We supplied two Manitou handlers and a Fendt 724 Vario tractor in recent years and most recently, supplied a new T175eV with Loader for farm use,” says Mr Parrett.  “We have also gladly donated a large amount of PPE including clothing and wellington boots to make sure students had the correct equipment for working with the livestock. Training on outdated machines clearly wasn’t ideal preparation for students going on to work with modern contracting operations or on larger farms, so we approached AGCO for assistance putting together a three-year tractor deal.”

“Loaning these tractors will benefit Crawfords Group as much as the students,” points out Crawfords territory sales manager and former Plumpton College student James Strivens. “Tractors used for driver training were the same ones that I drove as a student in 2010, and they had been at the college for several years then. It’s a good college and very successful. There are a wide range of soils, so students learn to establish crops in different situations; it’s in a great location to serve the agricultural community in the South-East, and there has been huge investment in new facilities in recent years including an impressive new pig unit. It’s good to be part of it and the new tractors will prepare students better for their future careers.”

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