Recruitment and employment by agricultural dealers in Europe

Online since 04-03-2019
At the SIMA show in Paris late February, a Dealer Morning was organised by the French trade association ‘SEDIMA’ to highlight the issues faced by all countries in recruiting and retaining technicians.
This was an extension of the campaign being organised by CLIMMAR, the European dealers trade organisation, to highlight the issues of an aging work force and the difficulties of recruiting new technicians.

At the SIMA Dealer conference five CLIMMAR members, (France, UK, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands) offered facts and figures from their countries with information about what they were doing about the recruitment issues, numbers in the industry, how training and education is developed in their respective countries. Erik Hogervorst, the CLIMMAR President, provided an overview of the problem and outlined CLIMMAR activities in developing a position paper to address the issues and to present as a European paper to other organisations and governments within Europe.

One thing becomes very clear: the problems are the same everywhere and only the possible solutions vary in the way training is being addressed but most countries have similar training programmes with similar outcomes set at a high standard that involves both public and manufacturer training. These generally amount to apprenticeship programmes that are provided through training providers that may be private companies, colleges or even academies owned by the industry itself or in close partnership with industry.

Training is not really the problem it is the lack of reasonable numbers of new entrants coming into the industry that mean, in many cases, there are not enough numbers to justify expensive training programmes or investment from training providers. This means lecturers may not be up to date with technology, training venues may not have up to date equipment to work with, providers may not be able to justify an investment that brings little or no return and governments may not see the industry being in need of stronger support despite the fact that farmers feed the world and machinery dealers help them do it.