A new part-time traineeship programme has been developed to help attract and maintain workers in the milking machine service, testing and installation sector.

The new programme is a partnership between Milk Quality Ireland, ICOS Skillnet, Teagasc and Technological University Dublin (TUD).

It is designed to address the needs of milking machine technicians and to establish an accredited academic award in recognition of the skills acquired by technicians.

Chair of Milk Quality Ireland and ICOS president Jerry Long welcomed the launch of the new part-time traineeship programme.

“The milking machine technician is a vital service provider to over 17,500 family dairy farms, supporting the production of the highest-quality milk used for our global exports.

“The new programme will build upon our existing educational programmes for registered technicians and importantly will include a strong apprenticeship element.”

Upskill opportunity

The two-year part-time course will be delivered jointly by Teagasc and TUD. Students who complete the programme will be awarded a Level 6 Higher Certificate in Engineering in Milking Systems Technology.

The programme will cover a range of electrical, electronic, mechanical and professional skills modules delivered by TUD and milk quality, animal welfare and milking machine testing and operations modules delivered by Teagasc.

The course is being provided over two years on a part-time basis to meet the needs of existing milking machine technicians and those wishing to enter the sector.

Candidates from other related disciplines who wish to develop their skills in this sector, will also be considered.

Teagasc farm machinery and milking machine specialist Francis Quigley said: “This new programme will help provide training and support employment opportunities for new entrants and allow people currently working in the industry an opportunity to upskill and gain a recognised award.

“Professionalisation of training will be a benefit to the entire dairy industry.”