Iwan Ellis, 25, tells Farmers Guardian about his training on the Kubota apprenticeship scheme for agricultural engineers and why pursuing a career in agriculture means no day is ever the same.
How did you start out in agricultural engineering?
I am from a farming background. My family run a dairy farm in Whittington, Shropshire, and I also graduated from Reaseheath College in 2014 with a level 3 in land-based studies.
Having worked for six years on an arable farm, I had hands-on experience, but I realised I wanted to pursue a career in agricultural engineering because of the varied nature of the job.
Last August, I started working at Hughes Brothers, an agricultural engineers in Owestry, Shropshire. With the company having acquired the Kubota franchise in 2012, I applied for the Kubota apprenticeship scheme. I have a big interest in advanced technology, so the scheme really appealed to me.
Tell us more about the Kubota apprenticeship scheme
The scheme is a three-year course, at the end of which you achieve an extended diploma in advanced engineering.
The course varies from engines to hydraulics, as there are many different aspects to engineering.
The course requirements state that a minimum of a C in English and maths at GSCE level is necessary, with a recommended level 2 in land-based studies.
What inspired you to choose a career in agricultural engineering?
I love knowing how everything works. It is a hands-on job which I really enjoy.
Completing a variety of tasks on the scheme, such as stripping engines down, diagnosing and repairing faults, as well as learning about auto steer and GPS, means no day is the same. There is a lot of variation within this industry.
How do you think young people perceive a career in agriculture?
I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to pursue a career in the agricultural sector, which means younger people do not really understand.
In particular, people do not realise how technology plays an important role in modern farming. For example, when growing crops, the technology required to monitor them, keep pests away and control disease are integral for production.
I think it is important to remind the younger generation that there are so many different avenues to pursue within this industry.