A total of 48young service technicians have formally graduated from the latest John Deere Ag Tech, Parts Tech and Turf Tech advanced apprenticeship programmes, run in partnership with national training provider ProVQ.

John Deere hosted its annual apprentice graduation ceremony earlier this year in Germany, with the apprentices visiting the company’s cab factory and European Parts Distribution Centre in Bruchsal before being presented with their awards at the John Deere Forum in Mannheim.

Four of the company’s apprentices won overall awards for the 2017 graduation year. Ewan Edwards of dealer RBM Agricultural Ltd, Louth was namedAg Tech Apprentice of the Year, for which he received a crystal plaque, a certificate and vouchers for workshop tools worth £250.

Sean Murphy of Charlies Groundcare in Newtown was awarded Turf Tech Apprentice of the Year and joint Parts Tech Apprentices of the Year were Max Evans of Tallis Amos Group in Bristol and Jack Norman of Masons Kings in Exebridge.All three also received a crystal plaque and certificate, and the same value vouchers.

The presentations were made by Deere & Company’s Region 2 training delivery manager Dr Lutz Schueppenhauer and John Deere Limited’s newly appointed branch training manager Allan Cochran.

John Deere’s three-year Ag Tech and Turf Tech and two-year Parts Tech apprenticeships lead to IMI Level 2 & 3 Diplomas in Landbased Engineering and Vehicle Parts Competence, and registration at LTA Intermediatelevel in the industry’s Landbased Training Accreditation scheme. In subsequent years qualified technicians undergo further education and adult training within the John Deere University programme, on a career path that can ultimately lead to the highest possible LTA Master Technician accreditation.

Now in its 26th year, 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 programme started in 1992, well over 700 apprentices have graduated through the three main schemes and are now working in the company’s nationwide dealer network.

Allan Cochran took over the role of John Deere Limited branch training manager for the UK & Ireland from his predecessor Richard Halsall at the beginning of March, and works closely with training partner ProVQ on the John Deere apprenticeship programmes.

Allan joined the company in 1997 as a management trainee after completing an HND in mechanisation, planning and business management at SAC Auchincruive. His subsequent responsibilities have included sales demonstrator instructor for tractors, service training instructor, area manager product support for Scotland and then Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and product specialist for tractors and loaders.

In 2005 Allan was promoted to technical services manager and then senior product support specialist, and from 2009 he was technical support specialist for the tractor dealer technical assistance centre (DTAC) system and a harvesting customer support specialist.