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Job Sheet: Agricultural equipment technician

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Job title:  Agricultural equipment technician

Job description:

Agricultural equipment technicians are able to inspect agricultural related machines and equipment for mechanical, electrical and electronic faults; and diagnose and rectify faults in mechanical, electrical and electronic components.

Agricultural equipment technicians may do some or all of the following:
- diagnose vehicle faults and discuss them with vehicle owners
- computer based system analysis and calibration
- dismantle engines or other parts 
- repair or replace faulty parts 
- order replacement parts 
- service heavy automotive equipment, such as changing engine oil and adjusting engines, so that vehicles run better 
- rebuild engines and other parts 
- carry out pre-certificate of fitness checks 
- test drive vehicles and make any necessary adjustments 
- ensure hazardous waste is disposed of appropriately 
- attend breakdowns and after hours call outs

Technicians working in this area get opportunities for overseas training and work.

Qualifications required:

To become a agricultural equipment technician you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Heavy Engineering - Agricultural Equipment Strand).

Agricultural equipment technicians need to be practical, responsible, alert, patient and able to think logically. They also need to have an eye for detail.

Agricultural equipment technicians need to be reasonably fit and strong with good hand-eye co-ordination. They also need to have good hearing and eyesight (with or without corrective lenses). Stamina is also required as heavy equipment automotive engineers may have to work long hours.

Training costs:

As training is done on the job, there is generally no cost to the trainee, who will be earning while they are learning.

MITO's annual training fee covers all training and assessment materials, regular visits from your MITO Customer Services Manager, an entitlement of 80 hours of off job training each year as well as on-going reports on your progress and maintenance of your academic record.

The annual training fee is $858.75 (inclusive of GST).

Location of job:

Agricultural equipment technicians work in factories or workshops and in the field.

Career path:

National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Heavy Engineering - Agricultural Equipment Strand) (Level 4). 

There are three strands of Automotive Heavy Engineering and unit standards must also be completed in the chosen strand:
- Agricultural Equipment Strand 
- Plant and Equipment Strand 
- Road Transport Strand.

A qualification in agricultural equipment can lead to other careers in the automotive industry and can offer some exciting pathways. Some options include:

- owning your own business
- workshop manager 
- sales representative
- tutor - developing courses and teaching.

After completing your apprenticeship you can consider a business management qualification, such as the advanced Technical (ATech®) through MITO if you would like to move into management .

Salary range:

As an apprentice, you will generally start your training on an hourly rate. Many employers use pay rises as an incentive to develop your skills and gain practical experience. Once you are qualified, you can anticipate increasing your income further.

Wages vary. Apprentices usually start on $9.60 an hour, with experience and qualifications this rate can increase to $17 an hour plus overtime. Some experienced heavy equipment automotive engineers are paid a rate of around $25 an hour, which incorporates overtime. Wage rates for experienced heavy equipment automotive engineers are among the highest of the automotive trades. (This information is provided as a guide only).

Other careers this profession could lead to:

A qualification as an agricultural equipment technician can lead to other careers in the automotive industry.

After completing your apprenticeship you can consider a business management qualification through MITO if you would like to move into management or would like to own your own business.

Tips on how to increase the chances of successfully entering this industry:

Anyone who has a positive attitude towards work and learning can be an apprentice.

Other than that, you will need:
- an employer willing to take you on full-time and oversee your training 
- a commitment to your career 
- an interest in the motor industry 
- a commitment to study each week, outside work hours 
- the ability to understand and apply technical information.

At least three years of secondary education is preferred. Useful subjects include English, mathematics and workshop technology.

Students can also take part in a secondary school automotive training programme (Startup® ) that is run by MITO and provides a pathway for students into the automotive industry. The programme includes both theory and practical components so students can gain NCEA credits as well as practical work experience. For further information contact the New Zealand Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO).

Some desirable skills and knowledge are: 
- knowledge of vehicle engines and parts 
- knowledge of vehicle electronics 
- knowledge of land transport safety authority regulations and safety standards 
- mechanical skills including the ability to diagnose mechanical problems 
- people and communication skills 
- computer skills

Experience working with vehicles and large machinery, and electrical work is useful. An interest in mechanics and vehicles is also important.

Places/websites to source information about this job:

Any other relevant points:

The NZ Motor Industry Training Organisation (Inc) (MITO) is all about developing and facilitating training in New Zealand's motor and industrial textile fabrication industries. We set training standards and promote careers in these industries.

MITO works with apprentices, their employers and training providers to make sure people in our industries get the best possible opportunities to learn and accelerate their careers.

Some of the benefits of a MITO apprenticeship are:

- the flexibility to earn while you learn 
- formal recognition of your knowledge and skills 
- nationally and internationally recognised qualifications 
- training developed by the industry for the industry - everything you learn will be relevant to the workplace 
- training alongside experienced and knowledgeable staff 
- a career pathway.