Demand for machinery technicians growing

Technicians in demand as Australian machinery fleet expands

Machinery
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Meet 19-year-old Anna McGuirk. She's helping to fill the machinery sector's demand for technicians.

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Anna McGuirk is completing her apprenticeship as a technician with Hutcheon & Pearce in Wagga Wagga.

Anna McGuirk is completing her apprenticeship as a technician with Hutcheon & Pearce in Wagga Wagga.

For 19-year-old Anna McGuirk, an interest in repairing machines on the family farm has turned into a career as a trainee technician.

Miss McGuirk's family run an Angus cattle operation at Nangus in New South Wales' Riverina region.

"I grew up on a farm so I was always helping repair the machinery and I just found it really interesting and challenging and wanted to pursue it," she said.

She started her four-year agricultural services technician apprenticeship in January with machinery dealership, Hutcheon & Pearce, based in Wagga Wagga.

On any given day Miss McGuirk can be found servicing a variety of equipment - from mowers to harvesters and utility vehicles to tractors.

One of the bonuses of life as a technician is getting to head out on farm and experience other facets of the agricultural industry.

"I've had a lot to do with the cattle and animal side, so I wanted to explore the cropping side and see how other farmers run their properties," she said.

"Out my direction there's a lot of canola, whereas towards Narrandera there's a bit of rice so I get to learn a bit more."

The importance ofhaving enough skilled technicians as the Australian agricultural industry works toward achieving its production goal of $100 billion by 2030 has been flagged by Luke Chandler.

The John Deere Australia and New Zealand managing director said Australia's machinery fleet had grown off the back of favourable seasonal conditions and the federal government's instant asset write-off scheme.

This, in turn, was fuelling the demand for technicians.

"Both the farming and construction sectors are undergoing a shift in gear and a clear acceleration of growth that we expect to be long-term," Mr Chandler said.

"However, for these industries to truly reach their potential, and for communities to gain the full benefit of this growth, we will need the expertise and support of trusted, local technicians."

Technicians are generally individuals who enjoy problem solving and working with their hands, but in today's world, they also have robust digital and technical knowledge. - Luke Chandler

John Deere has partnerships with registered training organisations and external providers across the country, including Hutcheon & Pearce's TopGun program, which Miss McGuirk is part of.

Her course is being completed through the TAFE NSW Primary Industries Centre.

"I'm loving it, it's really good," she said.

"It's a lot better because you get to work on the job as you're doing it and as you're learning; you get to experience what the teachers are talking about."

Mr Chandler said John Deere technicians often became an integral part of farming businesses by also assisting customers with finding the tools and resources they need to maintain their own equipment.

"Artificial Intelligence, automation and machines connected to a digital ecosystem are the kind of precision technologies spearheading the industry's step change, and with that comes an exponential demand for technicians who are not only skilled in providing aftermarket support, but also there to help empower farmers to get the most from their equipment," Mr Chandler said.

"Technicians are generally individuals who enjoy problem solving and working with their hands, but in today's world, they also have robust digital and technical knowledge.

"They are highly skilled at performing machine diagnostics and repairs, and utilise remote support tools to maximise machinery uptime for their customers."

A career as a technician could open up workplace progression and leadership opportunities, Mr Chandler said.

"It's an exciting time to become a technician, not only do they have the opportunity to work with world-leading and innovative technology in the heart of a regional and rural community, but they can also be part of an industry on the cusp of a technological shift that's creating a more sustainable future, while helping feed, shelter, and clothe the world's growing population," he said.

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