Trevor Tyrrell from Claas, said the role of the machines and mechanics are critical to everyday life.

“Diageo, the company behind Guinness, makes about three million pints every day … to make those they need 500t of barley every day. That means that one machine and one man is needed to keep Guinness going… if a machine breaks down and there’s no mechanic then Guinness stops, potentially,” Tyrrell said.

The panel was chaired by Irish Farmers Journal machinery editor James Maloney and had contributions from William Judge from AGCO and Dr Patrick Carney from IT Tralee, as well as Tyrrell.

’We absolutely have a shortage’

When asked by Maloney, Tyrrell confirmed that Claas does indeed have a shortage of staff and finds it difficult in sourcing people for apprenticeships.

“Absolutely, 100%, we have a shortage in both Britain and in Ireland,” Tyrrell said. This was echoed by William Judge from AGCO.

“If you want to come to work in sunny Suffolk … or in Kerry, Louth or Galway we have a job. There is a shortage for sure. We have 28 coming on the programme this year, we could do with 50.

“[If you do an apprenticeships with Claas,] you are guaranteed to learn and earn and you have a guaranteed job at the end of it,” Tyrell said.

He added that the hours can be long but the company works with staff at off-peak times to ensure they are happy.

“If you are happy to work 100 hours (per week) during the harvest then there will be time off in the harvest,” he said.

The Agri Careers Fair 2017 takes place on Thursday 30 March in the RDS and it can be watched live here

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