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Jonathan's top industry award

PUBLISHED: 09:07 10 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:59 22 October 2010

West Norfolk service technician Jonathan Smith has won two of the country's top training awards.

Jonathan became the

tenth Ag Tech agricultural engineering apprentice to win a City and Guilds Medal for Excellence for outstanding individual performance - a unique achievement.

West Norfolk service technician Jonathan Smith has won two of the country's top training awards.

Jonathan became the

tenth Ag Tech agricultural engineering apprentice to win a City and Guilds Medal for Excellence for outstanding individual performance - a unique achievement.

He works for John Deere dealers, Evergreen Tractors, at St Germans, near King's Lynn.

The Ag Tech programme, run by John Deere and Brooksby Melton College, is supported by the Learning and Skills Council.

Jonathan won the Fox Medal from the Worshipful Company of Cutlers for best candidate in this sector, and the Allan & Newton Memorial Prize for Mechanical Engineering Craft Practice, winning a total of £1,000.

Jonathan joined Evergreen Tractors full-time from school at 16 after work experience when he was 14 and then a regular Saturday job.

He was one of the dealership's first two apprentices to join the Ag Tech programme, in 2002, and since graduating he has been provided with a new service vehicle for his efforts.

"I first put forward my portfolio for last year's awards but lost out to another John Deere Ag Tech student, Oliver Rumsey of Tuckwells. I didn't want to give up, though, so I tried even harder this year and was delighted to win," he said.

"The course at Brooksby was really an amazing experience. The college lecturers made us all feel very welcome, and I was fortunate to meet so many different people from all over the country.

"I plan to keep on learning, possibly to NVQ Level 4 next, but for now I want to get as much experience as possible and become more familiar with the full John Deere product range."

Roy Pickett, of Evergreen Tractors, said the Ag Tech programme had worked out well for the branch, which employed six full-time service technicians.

"We previously used our local college, but the quality of the training started to drop off. "Having now sent two of our apprentices through the scheme, I would heartily recommend it. In particular, the college's machinery lecturers, Richard Trevarthen and Phil Spencer, are very good - they make the training very personal and really inspire the lads on the course," he added.

City & Guilds awards 1.2m certificates to learners each year on more than 500 subjects, with only around one in 10,000 people receiving a Medal for Excellence, the highest recognition.

Ag Tech was the first agricultural engineering apprentice scheme of its kind to be introduced in the UK, in 1992, and won a National Training Award at the end of 1997, the only one ever made to an agricultural machinery company.


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