The first female and forestry technicians have been registered in the latest intake for John Deere’s apprenticeship scheme. Managed by training provider ProVQ, a total of 34 apprentices have signed up to begin their first year of training in the work-based (Ag Tech, Parts Tech and Turf Tech) programmes.

The apprentices, their families and sponsoring dealers attended an induction day at John Deere’s Langar headquarters recently, and visited the apprentice training centre at nearby Radcliffe-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire. In addition, the dealers took part in an employer’s workshop, which provided an overview of developments to the scheme for 2017 and what will be required in terms of apprentice mentoring, support and career opportunities. This is in line with plans for the new government led apprenticeship framework that has recently been announced, which aims to attract 3 million apprentice starts by 2020. The three-year Ag and Turf Tech apprenticeships lead to IMI Level 2 and 3 diplomas in land-based engineering. Each year group trains at the centre for eight weeks a year in four blocks of two weeks, with some days spent at Langar when working with larger machines such as combines and self-propelled forage harvesters. The two-year Parts Tech apprenticeship, leading to a Level 3 diploma in vehicle parts competence, is mostly work-based at the sponsoring dealer, with four weeks of training at Langar. Graduating apprentices can then complete three free courses to gain the John Deere diploma and start their adult training at the company’s university, using the knowledge and skills gained from their initial one-, two- or three-year apprenticeship. After additional training and experience, they can ultimately go on to achieve the highest possible LTA4 master technician accreditation. Ag Tech was the first such scheme to be introduced in the UK and won a National Training Award at the end of 1997, the only one ever made to an agricultural machinery apprenticeship programme. Since the first one started in 1992, more than 600 apprentices have graduated through all the training programmes and been employed in the company’s nationwide dealer network.