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BUILDING A BENCHMARK FOR DAIRY TECHNICIANS

Enrolment for the Milking Equipment Association (MEA) backed Parlour Safe courses has been announced. The courses start in October at Hartpury and Reaseheath colleges to offer participants an opportunity to improve their theoretical and practical understanding of dairy equipment installation, maintenance and use.

Parlour Safe was launched in 2015 and for technicians, and others working with milking equipment, looking to achieve a recognised accreditation. “The correct fitting, maintenance and use of dairy equipment is crucial to enable farmers to milk safely and efficiently. Parlour Safe offers those involved in the industry an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate a level of learning that is recognised at both an academic and practical level,” explains John Baines, MEA Chairman.

Hartpury College offers Category 2, an introduction to best practice that sees its participants accredited with the title Dairy Technician. “We include guest speakers from the industry to demonstrate the importance of accuracy and attention to detail,” says Hartpury tutor, Ian Coleman. “This year we will cover everything from electronics and automation to parlour ergonomics. There are already participants from all over the UK, Ireland, and we even have one joining us from Italy,” he adds.

Reaseheath College provides Category 3, for technicians seeking an advanced accreditation that is recognised by The Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE). “The course is practical but there is also a focus on a strong theoretical understanding of different dairying scenarios. Our aim is that soon these courses will become mandatory like those associated with spraying,” says Reaseheath course tutor, Michael Cullen.

The MEA has worked closely with its industry members such as Lely, DeLaval, GEA, Boumatic and Fullwood Packo to develop these courses and categories of accreditation. The fitting and maintenance of milking machinery is unregulated. However, the MEA hopes that by promoting Parlour Safe, and encouraging existing and trainee technicians, testers and advisers to become accredited, it will drive up standards and create a benchmark.

“We are proud to have developed a series of courses that enable technicians in the industry to be recognised for their skills. Fitting and maintaining equipment is a specialist discipline and Parlour Safe represents the practical level of understanding needed to be able to carry out this vital work reliably and safely,” concludes Mr Baines.

Course dates and prices can be found at https://milkingsystems.co.uk/course-information/