With the turf maintenance machinery industry under increasing pressure to implement a nationally recognised operator's qualification, Lely UK is leading the way by introducing an in-company training initiative.
Pre-empting the possible future introduction of a forklift truck-style operator's licence, Lely UK personnel now need a City & Guilds NPTC Level 2 Certificate of Competence in the Safe Use of Mowers in order to operate Toro mowers.
Lely's Toro training manager, Ian Sumpter, is a qualified assessor in the certificate and is leading the initiative alongside senior product specialist for the UK, Clive Pinnock. After a full day's training with Clive, operators complete a two-hour assessment with Ian.
"We felt that, as a company, we could lead the way by going over and above the minimum requirements for mower operatives," Ian explains. "At the moment, our workshop staff operate mowers every now and then, loading or demonstrating machines. Though they've had informal training, we want to maximise health and safety with the introduction of this formal training."
Having completed the first phase of training, 37 members of staff are now qualified, including the three highest performing students, Robert Rees and Julian Coping (pictured) and Andrew Ireland. Ian hopes to have a total of 60 mower operatives trained by the end of 2008. Those without the certificate will no longer be able to operate Toro mowers.
Photo caption: Pictured from left are Lely's Julian Coping and Robert Rees, who have become two of the first to complete the company's mower operator training initiative, led by colleagues Ian Sumpter and Clive Pinnock.