'We're not training someone to hide down the back of the workshop'
Published 16/03/2016 | 02:30
Students on the course share their time between either a dealership or garage, and IT Tralee. Entry requirements are a passed Leaving Certificate, with a total of five different subjects at grade D or better. Entrants are then required to find a garage/dealership who will sponsor them for the duration of the course. All the course work is based practical learning will then take place in the sponsored workplace.
The three years are split into six semesters, with alternate semesters spent in the IT Tralee and the garage.
Focussing heavily on the electronic and diagnostic aspects of machinery repair, the course demands high levels of computer literacy which are developed throughout its duration.
"First and foremost we want a technician who is confident and competent in their ability to recognise, diagnose and rectify mechanical, electrical and technical issues in agricultural machinery using existing equipment and modern diagnostic tools," says course director Fergal O'Sullivan.
"But more than that, we want the graduate to be able to communicate effectively with the customer, other dealers, and management of machinery manufacturing companies.
"I would stress that we are not training someone to hide down the back of the workshop - we're training people to represent themselves and their company in a professional manner through their knowledge and skills."
Mr O' Sullivan says prospective students thinking of applying for the course should be interested in continuing their learning and professional development long past their graduation. "In an industry so heavily driven by technology, ongoing training is essential for anyone who wants to stay ahead of the game.
"We don't want someone who decides they're done learning once the Leaving Certificate is complete because in this industry you become outdated once you stand still. Throughout the course, we're trying to instil the importance of self-driven learning, and a want to better yourself all the time. Even when students are out on placement in their respective garages, there are ongoing tasks, projects and reports that need to be completed online."
During the course at IT Tralee, students learn about everything from the basic operating principles of the internal combustion engine, to the latest diagnostic tools available on new tractors and equipment. "Local machinery dealers kindly supply us with the latest tractors and equipment for the students to work on and learn from," says lecturer Michael O' Callaghan.
So there you have it. Developed in conjunction with industry stakeholders and manufacturers, the Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Mechanisation course is a good example of what can be achieved in an industry by putting a few heads together.
For anyone who is serious about farm machinery and interested in being able to fix the biggest and best equipment, this course could be ideal for you.
With the astronomical price tag attached to modern equipment, it is essential that the backup provided by manufacturers and dealers in Ireland is of the highest standard.
For more information on the course visit www.ittralee.ie