Toro Australia has recently welcomed several new apprentices to its Turf Equipment Service Centres. This brings the total number of apprenticeships to seven, with numbers expected to rise in the near future.
Richard Walne, Toro’s Managing Director, said that Toro strongly believes in investing in the future of the turf industry: “Building long-term relationships with our customers and investing back into an industry that has been such a great supporter of us is one of our utmost priorities. Offering apprenticeships in our service centres, combined with ongoing education by external providers, is one way how we can ensure ongoing skills development in the turf industry.“
Simon Howard, Toro Service Centre Manager SA, said most students who are interested in diesel engines often don’t look further than diesel mechanic’s courses. However, people who are interested in lots of variety in their job, enjoy a challenge and are eager to learn, and who like being outdoors, should consider an apprenticeship in “Mobile Plant technology.”
So, what are the advantages of an apprenticeship at a Toro Service Centre?
1. Broaden your skill set and learn valuable job skills
With an apprenticeship at Toro you receive on the job training, combined with periodic trade school attendance. The work offers lots of variety as you will learn about automotive electrical, hydraulics, engines (large and small), transmissions, air conditioning, welding, blade sharpening and machining and a large range of diagnostics and problem finding.
It will give you plenty of opportunities to develop your communication skills by dealing with customers and you will have a chance to be outdoors a lot of the time.
Toro offers their own certified courses and a national network of Equipment Service Centres. As your skills develop, you will be exposed to more variety and different places to work including workshops, golf courses and sporting venues.
2. Earn while you learn
As an apprentice, you will sign an employment contract for four years with Toro’s apprenticeship provider. Under the supervision of the Service Centre Manager, you will gain paid on the job training whilst studying towards a nationally recognised Certificate 3 in Heavy Vehicles - Mobile Plant Technology. There is further scope to gain post trade qualifications.
Apprentices are paid a wage which will increase from year to year as you learn new and more variable skills.
Anyone can be an apprentice: students, school-leavers, people re-entering the workforce, or adult workers wishing to change careers. Toro welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds and is an approved Gender Equality employer.
Apprentices have the same rights to superannuation, workers’ compensation and other entitlements or requirements as all other workers in Australia.
3. Gain independence
Apprentices gain their independence earlier than their peers who are studying as you are learning on the job, developing new skills and earning money.
There are also regular opportunities to travel interstate for industry training, keeping you up to date with the latest in technology.
Ongoing support and guidance is provided throughout the apprenticeship.
4. Stay ahead of others and jump-start your career
School leavers often find themselves in a situation where they lack the experience to get a job, but they can’t get a job to obtain the necessary experience. An apprenticeship is a great way to start your professional career and gain that experience.
Apprentices can start their careers when they’re as young as 17 years old, and will earn and learn as they go.
5. Doors will open
As Toro is an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), apprentices are trained on original equipment and develop a unique set of skills that is highly regarded in the turf industry.
Toro is renowned for their premium equipment, and the people who work here and the customers who use our equipment are very passionate towards the company and its equipment.
The contacts you make during your apprenticeship could help you secure a job at golf courses, in the sports turf industry, with equipment dealerships, councils and equipment manufacturers.
What do past apprentices have to say:
Blake Dzenis finished his apprenticeship at Toro’s New South Wales Service Centre in 2015, and then moved into the role of Service Technician and quickly progressed through to Leading Hand.
Blake enjoys working at Toro for many reasons: “Every day I am challenged to better myself as a Technician. The technical support throughout Toro Australia is incredible. Everyone is willing to help one another to achieve the common goal.
“Toro really sees the potential in its employees and encourages learning new skills by offering training days, which is very beneficial as there is always room to improve, I am learning new things every day,” says Blake.
“The turf Industry is in a league of its own. You gain experience in all categories of mechanics which include both diesel and petrol engines, auto electrics, hydraulics and most importantly the diagnostics of them all. You are not stuck in the day-to-day grind of services that may be seen in similar industries.
“I have travelled all over NSW in my time at Toro, from the city to all along the coast and into the west. The type of machinery we work on out in the field varies from smaller mowers to the larger side of the business, such as directional drills and trenchers,” says Blake.
Working over in Western Australia is Shannen Rowe, Toro’s first female apprentice and now a qualified Service Technician. She has been with Toro since March 2014.
Shannon also believes her role is very varied as it includes pre-delivering machines, diagnosing, repairing and servicing, as well as visiting customers.
She says: “I love that I am able to develop a close relationship with so many customers and the team I work with is great. We work on many different types of machines, I can work on push mowers, big ride-on mowers for golf courses, trenchers, compact utility loaders, utility vehicles and more, every day is different. This gives me a very broad knowledge and Toro have been very supportive so that I can continue gaining knowledge.”
Shannon has recently accepted a position at a Toro equipment dealership allowing her to further develop her work experience in the turf industry.
Photo above: Toro's NSW Service Centre has been presented with a trophy and certificate from My Gateway for being a host to apprentices for 10 years.