BAGMA (British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association), the UK trade association representing the interests of machinery dealers serving the groundcare and land-based industries, has helped establish a unique ‘joined-up‘ approach to groundcare technician training, in order to ensure a sound basis for the education of apprentices.
Under the forthcoming Groundcare Technician Training Scheme (GTTS), 10 colleges and 11 manufacturers have teamed up to provide dedicated resources and machinery nationwide to train technicians for employment with dealers serving in the domestic and professional equipment sectors.
The details of GTTS, which is being co-ordinated by Writtle College, were announced at Saltex. BAGMA regards the scheme as an essential development in helping dealers to attract new entrants into the profession. Director General Ian Jones says, “it will provide a platform for a rewarding and valuable career. BAGMA urges dealers to give their full support to the Scheme and their apprentices.”
The GTTS provides foundation and advanced modern apprenticeships in landbased service engineering, in domestic groundcare machinery or professional groundcare machinery. These will be provided nationwide, on a block release basis, at Bishop Burton College, Brooksby College, Cannington College, Elmwood College, Evesham College, Greenmount College, Kirkley Hall College, Myerscough College, Rodbaston College and Writtle College.
Manufacturers supporting the domestic apprenticeship include Briggs & Stratton, Countax, Hayter, MTD Barrus, Tecumseh and Westwood, while those supplying equipment for the rofessional strand comprise Briggs & Stratton, Dennis, Etesia, Hayter, John Deere, Kubota, Sisis, Tecumseh, Toro and Turfmech.
The professional groundcare machinery apprenticeship equips those servicing and repairing machines working on golf courses, sports fields and local authority grounds. Technicians will typically work at franchised dealerships, local authority workshops, contractors and golf courses. The domestic groundcare machinery apprenticeship will train technicians in servicing and repairing machinery used by households and sold through specialist dealers.
Funding is available to trainees aged 16-25 through their local Learning and Skills Council, provided they complete the scheme before their 25th birthday.
Ian Jones says that dealers must be proactive in supporting the GTTS so as to ensure skilled staff are available in the future. “Dealers must show their faith in the Scheme by employing more young people to fill the places available. They must promote the career opportunities that exist in a challenging, changing and valuable industry. There will always be a need for a skilled technician – just ask the Ferrari staff who service Michael Schumacher’s car during Grand Prix!”