Dairy technician passes ‘quality’ test

David Blackburn with his course certificate
David Blackburn with his course certificate

A North-east man is one of the first graduates of a new milking machinery technician’s course.

David Blackburn has praised the programme established by the Milking Equipment Association (MEA) when it recently teamed up with Reaseheath College in Cheshire and Hartpury College in Gloucestershire.

David is a support engineer for milking machinery company Lely, and works on keeping the company’s robotic parlours working across the UK and Ireland.

Based in Alford, he travels the length and breadth of the country, and can be in the North of Scotland, Cork in Southern Ireland, and Cornwall in the same week.

He said: “The objective of the Parlour Safe scheme is to provide a common means of benchmarking and monitoring for assessing the competence of technicians and others employed within the milking equipment sector.

“It’s an excellent way of ensuring that farmers know who is ensuring their dairy equipment is working efficiently and is correctly maintained by someone with a recognised technical qualification.”

David added: “We have around 600 farms with 1000 machines between them, with a single machine milking 60 cows to eight machines milking 500 cows.

“The equipment has got more and more sophisticated over the years, and it’s vital that properly qualified individuals do any maintenance.

“You can always learn more, and meeting other technicians as I completed the course showed me that we are all facing the same challenges. It was great to be able to share experiences.”

MEA chief executive Ruth Bailey said: “We’re delighted the industry is taking this issue so seriously, and that we have so many potential students wanting to take future courses.

“With milking equipment getting more and more sophisticated, it’s crucial that we set standards for our technicians, and that farmers have the reassurance that they’re working with properly qualified individuals.”