An apprenticeship shortage across AGCO dealerships sparked the idea to combine the strength of the AGCO dealer network with one of the nation’s leading vocational education institutes, Bendigo TAFE. Located in central Victoria, Bendigo is one of Victoria’s leading regional cities with numerous rural communities relying on it for education, employment and other services, making it the ideal location for agriculture students – something Bendigo TAFE has been doing for over 155 years.
This new venture allows for students to complete their studies in Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology while getting practical, hands-on experience with local AGCO dealers in the surrounding regions in Victoria and Tasmania. This way, AGCO dealerships will have access to talented, passionate agriculture machinery students and therefore help to address the skill shortage. The decision to engage in such collaboration also means that AGCO is future-proofing itself and not losing talented students to other industries.
Spanning across three years of study, students will spend approximately seven weeks per year with AGCO and their respective dealer in a mix of in person and online tuition. A total of thirty six units will be studied with skills taught such as diagnostics and maintenance, safety and environmental best practices, and effective communication between customers and colleagues. This program sets itself apart from traditional TAFE courses, where the access to industry isn’t as readily available or not to the same high standards that AGCO and its dealerships can provide.
Students have come from all across Victoria and northern Tasmania for their studies and will be exposed to industry leading technology during the course’s duration. So far, sixteen AGCO dealerships plus AGCO head office are participating in the scheme, with the potential to expand further in the years ahead. There are also government incentives available for each apprentice participating in the program.
Since February, the partnership between AGCO and Bendigo TAFE has seen twenty two students start their studies. “We are already receiving positive feedback from students and dealers alike” says Fergal Meehan, Director of Marketing ANZ. “Agriculture is an essential industry across the nation which is becoming more sophisticated as time goes by. By collaborating with Bendigo TAFE, we are able to foster the development of the next generation of farmers”.
Over the months ahead we will continue to publish updates on the students’ progress in the AGCO Apprenticeship Program.