Despite substantial wages, a dramatic shortfall in the number of land based engineers is impacting heavily on the ability to feed and house future generations, according to experts.
Land-based engineering is the maintaining of equipment that ranges from tractors and combines, farm machinery, dairy equipment, chainsaws and forestry tools, off-road vehicles through to the grass-care machines.
“I have large employers I work with at the moment in industry looking for apprentices which we can’t fill,” explained Danny Sellors, Lecturer for Land-based Engineering at Duchy College Rosewarne.
“The demand for skilled students outweighs the number I have within courses based at our sites.”
Millions of youngsters dreamed of tractors and large machinery when they were growing up, but things change when entering the education system and there are certain career paths that are focused on.
“Unfortunately land-based engineering, though vital for today’s society, is pretty much forgotten at school,” Danny said.
“If you ask a child about mechanics they could tell you what that entails but when talking about land-based engineering students and adults are unaware of the subjects and careers.”
Currently in Cornwall there are jobs being advertised for land-based engineers up to £35,000 including extra benefits on top. These opportunities are perfect for the person who enjoys being part of a team, is fascinated by innovation, has excellent IT skills, loves to problem solve and enjoys the outdoor life.
“For any person wanting to study an apprenticeship in land-based engineering we advise to do our Level 2 full-time course for one year and then move sideways to an apprenticeship,” Danny explained.
“Companies in this fast paced industry do not have time to upskill and teach people new to the industry and therefore it’s important to have a good knowledge of the sector first.”
One of the second year apprentices, Jack Skinner from Chacewater, currently works at Alan Snow Agricultural Engineers four days a week.
“I chose this career after having studied engineering at secondary school and enjoying learning about how machines work,” he explained.
“At College we work on a variety of machinery types, brands, ages just so we get an all-round knowledge of the industry and equipment out there.”
Currently Duchy College Rosewarne has 27 Level 2 and Level 3 land-based engineering apprentices on programme who attend the college one day a week.
For more information on the range of land-based engineering, farm machinery and plant operations courses available at Duchy College visit www.duchy.ac.uk or call 0845 60 50 455.
Photo Caption: Danny Sellors (middle), Lecturer for Land-based Engineering at Duchy College Rosewarne with apprentices Michael Alford left) and Jack Skinner (right).