As part of the redevelopment of its Saxham headquarters, CLAAS UK has opened a new purpose built CLAAS Academy, designed to provide training for dealer sales, service and parts staff plus customer operator training.
CLAAS has long recognised the importance of offering customers a high level of service and support for the CLAAS machinery that they operate, and the key to achieving this is through the service and support training it offers. The new CLAAS Academy is the seventh on
the Saxham site since the first was opened in 1954, employing just one trainer. Advanced Master Mechanic training was first introduced 20 years ago and highest Master Technician level in 2002.
Today, the new CLAAS Academy employs a total of 11 staff and has the capacity to offer over 5,000 training days a year. In addition to customer operator and dealer sales, service and parts staff training, the CLAAS Academy plays an integral role in the 4-step training pathway that young apprentices and service mechanics follow.
Currently there are 85 students in the CLAAS UK service and parts apprenticeship scheme. Once they have completed their formal training at either Reaseheath College or SRUC Barony in Scotland, they will then follow a training pathway of ongoing training, initially as young service mechanics with the opportunity for further train to the higher Master Mechanic or specialist Master Technician levels.
The new CLAAS Academy features extensive classrooms, break-out areas and five workshop areas capable of accommodating the largest CLAAS combines and forage harvesters, and the new facilities will enable trainers to fully demonstrate all the advanced features of the machines to customers and dealer staff.
In all, the new CLAAS Academy contains around £6 million worth of machinery. In
addition to formal classroom training, the Academy is developing a new eLearning facility using videos and animations, with two staff dedicated to this new facility which is expected within three years will offer over 20 eLearning programmes. The Academy is also setting new standards in the use of bar and QR codes to support self-discovery training, in addition to the introduction of 3D printed training aids.
The number of training programmes has also been increased. A new sales training
programme has been introduced, which mirrors the current Service and Parts training. Full in-house training to OEM level on the full range of third-party engines used within the CLAAS machinery range is to also be offered, using a dedicated workshop.
The new CLAAS Academy was officially opened by Lothar Kriszun, who has recently retired after 36 years with the CLAAS Group, most recently serving on the CLAAS Executive Board, where he was both the official Speaker for the Group and also responsible for the CLAAS Tractor division.
“Today, more than ever, training is crucial for the success of CLAAS as a company.
Farmers are in an environment that requires a high level of professionalism, and our
new Academy will help us achieve that. Trained people in sales and service are the
backbone of our reputation.”