From the start of the new academic year in September 2010, John Deere's award winning Ag Tech, Turf Tech and Parts Tech apprentice technician training programmes will be managed in partnership with VT Group, the UK's largest work-based training provider of government funded and commercial learning programmes.
VT Group provides apprentice training and key services to many other leading businesses and organisations, including the BBC, BMW, EDF Energy, The Royal Navy and Volkswagen Group. The training programmes will be based at a new, purpose built training facility in Ruddington, near Nottingham, not far from the John Deere Training Centre at Langar.
"VT Group is an independent training organisation which has dedicated resources and vast experience in apprenticeship training for many different, highly technical industries," says John Deere Limited's training manager Neil Macer. "This new partnership will enable us to establish exciting and innovative programmes aimed at recruiting and retaining the best possible apprentices for our dealer network.
"With technology making continual advances, the imminent launch of new industry qualifications and the requirement for ever higher standards, we believe that these new programmes offer the most suitable career development path to all our current and future apprentices."
Apprentices attending each of the new Ag, Turf and Parts Tech training programmes will work on up to date John Deere equipment, using company approved training material, while also following the national curriculum in order to achieve current and new national qualifications. Workplace assessors will also work with the sponsoring dealers to develop and record individual skills.
Technicians graduating through the current programmes achieve the BAGMA/City & Guilds of London Institute 4025 Agricultural/Groundcare Service Engineers NVQ Level 2 & 3 Certificates or the City & Guilds of London Institute 4009 Vehicle Parts Operations NVQ Level 2 Certificate. Ag and Turf Tech graduates also achieve the City & Guilds 394/2 Technical Certificate at Level 2 & 3. Successful completion of a fourth year qualifies technicians for the John Deere Diploma and prepares them to reach LTA2 level in the industry's Landbased Technician Accreditation scheme.
Ag Tech was the first such scheme to be introduced in the UK, in partnership with Brooksby Melton College, 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, 311 apprentices altogether have graduated through all three schemes.
In addition, 13 Ag Tech graduates have received a City & Guilds Medal for Excellence award since 1996, a unique achievement in the engineering sector. City & Guilds, the UK's leading awarding body for work related qualifications, awards well over a million certificates to learners each year on over 500 subjects, with only around 1 in 10,000 people receiving a Medal for Excellence, the highest recognition available.
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