John Deere's award-winning Ag Tech, Parts Tech and Turf Tech apprenticeship programme has set another record for the new training season's intake.
Altogether 46 apprentices have signed up to begin their first year of training, which is provided by Babcock International Group, who provide 10% of all UK work-based apprenticeship programmes.
The new intake includes 32 Ag Tech apprentice engineering technicians, six Parts Tech customer service apprentices and eight Turf Tech technicians.
The John Deere apprenticeship was the first land-based agricultural and turf machinery programme to deliver training in the workplace, at the sponsoring dealership, with assessment and guidance from Babcock's team of expert learning advisers.
Additional training takes place at Babcock's purpose-built training facility at Ruddington and the John Deere Training Centre at Langar, near Nottingham.
Overall the programme offers a City & Guilds or NVQ Level 3 land-based qualification and a John Deere LTA (Landbased Technician Accreditation) Level 2 qualification for the engineering technicians, and a Parts Administration qualification up to Level 3 (Advanced).
The apprentices can go on to complete three free courses in their third or fourth year to gain the John Deere Diploma and start their adult training at the John Deere University (JDU), using the knowledge and skills gained from the initial two or three-year apprenticeship.
"Apprentice technicians very quickly find themselves working with highly sophisticated equipment, from computerised controls and satellite navigation systems to advanced, fuel-efficient engines and Formula 1 transmission technology," said John Deere's training manager Chris Wiltshire.
"They are trained in engineering, electronics, hydraulics, diagnostics, communication skills, computing, sales and marketing.
"The need for skilled people working in our industry has never been greater, and we believe that these training programmes provide the best possible qualified technicians for our dealer network."