Joe has worked for Ernest Doe for over 25 years and has always been interested in anything mechanical from an early age and just loves the variety and challenges his role as an Ernest Doe technician for CNH machines brings. Joe is a Level 4 Master Technician.
Why did you choose to become an agricultural technician?
I took motor vehicle studies at school and when I left began an apprenticeship with Ernest Doe, and studied for my City and Guilds at Writtle College, where I achieved distinctions and credits. I’ve always been mechanically good with my hands and interested in taking things apart.
My dad’s side of the family were originally blacksmiths and my experience was that the agricultural industry always gave the best apprenticeships. It’s still good today but doesn’t seem to be seen as a good career choice. There needs to be more done to educate people and promote what an interesting and rewarding career agricultural engineering can be.
What skills do you need in your job?
A good deal of common sense, good dexterity and strong customer facing skills. When you visit a customer you must make yourself known and ensure you sum up when you leave about what you have done and why.
At Ernest Doe I have taken customer care courses and even been in training films.
Are LTA qualifications important?
Yes it is important, it has a prestige to it that the customer recognises. When you talk to people that are not in agriculture and you tell them you are a Master Technician they understand; it has a certain status and prestige. I also attend any CNH course I can to keep up to date with technology.
What do you like most about your job?
I love working on combines, I’m very interested in precision farming and enjoy the diversity of the role. You can be working on anything from guidance, air conditioning to hydraulics and pneumatics.
I love fixing things and understanding how they work. I’m excited by the new technology, electronics, precision farming and the advances in mechanisation – auto command, transmissions, etc just amazing feats of engineering.
When you are being asked for by name is an amazing feeling and you start to build strong relationships with your customers. The other day I heard one farmer ask another who fixed his machine and when they said Joe, he replied “oh what a great guy, he always gets me back up and running”, this made me feel really proud.
What are the challenges to your role?
Technology is moving forward so quickly. It’s very important to keep up with all the new advances. A modern technician like myself finds a smart phone is essential to keep up to date. But when customers get an LTA 4 Technician they know any machine issues will be quickly resolved.
What’s a typical day like?
During harvest I aim to set out around 7.30 am but it can be earlier. I go straight to the site to sort out an issue then it’s on to the next. The job satisfaction when you fix a problem is immense. We share the call outs at Ernest Doe. We work as a team and I find the harvest period goes in a flash. Yes it is long hours but that’s only during the harvest period the rest of the year is pretty regular. I get a real buzz out of us working together as a team.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to become a landbased technician?
Get involved, don’t sit back and think it will come to you, it won’t. You have to go out there and get it and keep learning and absorbing information. You also need persistency and drive. You just can’t give up and being interested in agriculture and how things work is important.