The fourth cohort of specialist engineers and allied professionals from the milking parlour industry has graduated from Parlour Safe, the Milking Equipment Association’s (MEA) training scheme.
The bespoke Category 3 (Advanced) course is delivered by Reaseheath and one other land-based college and is accredited by the Institution of Agricultural Engineers in recognition of its professional quality and high standard of training.
Reaseheath Engineering has worked closely with the MEA to create a modular, two year course that offers practical and technical training on parlour management, from dynamic testing and cow welfare to health and safety and building design.
Thanks to the new accreditation, those accredited to Category 3 and above are recognised for their standard of technical excellence, can join IAgrE and can register as engineering technicians with the Engineering Council. Although currently voluntary, it is likely that all technicians will be required to achieve accreditation in the future and demand for the training is rising nationally.
Congratulating the graduates, MEA Chairman John Baines confirmed that the training scheme was becoming recognised as a benchmark throughout the industry and had received positive support from organisations which spearheaded industry standards such as the Red Tractor and National Dairy Farm Assurance schemes.
The next step was to raise the profile within the dairy farming community so that individual farmers would seek to work with accredited technicians to maximise parlour efficiencies.
Course Manager Mike Cullen said that the growth and recognition of the course was testament to the hard work of the MEA and that it was being taken up nationally by distributors and manufacturers. The results of their final assessment showed that the current cohort were graduating with a level of technical knowledge and expertise which was well above Category 3 and that they should be proud of their achievements.
Ian Ohnsted, a milking technology advisor with The Dairy Group, a consultancy business, confirmed that his employers had been keen to help raise the level of understanding of milking parlour systems and had supported the training initiative from the outset. The course had enabled him to broaden his knowledge of different areas, particularly of electrics and hydraulics.
Mike Williams Service Manager for Dairy-Scope Ltd., a DeLaval dealership, said that his company was a member of the MEA and had selected him to gain the accreditation so he could help the business progress.
He said: “I felt very welcome from the first day and as this is an interactive course it has been easy to fill in gaps in your knowledge by asking questions. Mike Cullen is very knowledgeable and good at explaining often complicated systems in an understandable way.”
Other engineers to gain the qualification were:
- Paul Gemmell (Dairyflow, Scotland)
- Adrian Midgley (Cotswold Agricultural Services)
- Mike and Mark Schwarz (SGE Seal Ltd., DeLaval dealership, Kent)
- Jack Smiles (TH White, DeLaval dealership, Somerset)
- Scott Drumond (Fullwoodhead Dairy Supplies, Scotland)
- Stuart Swan (DairyFlow, Scotland)
- John Hunt (John Hunt Dairy Services, South Wales)
MEA’s Category 3 (Advanced) course attracts professionals who work for leading milking parlour manufacturers such as DeLaval, Fullwood, GEA UK, Lely and BouMatic, Individuals such as a dairy vet and an engineer keen to expand his knowledge of robotics are also on the cohort currently training.