Find your dream career in agriculture through RedStart

Will Thomas is living the dream after successfully applying for a spot in the O’Connors RedStart Apprenticeship Program.

Will Thomas says an apprenticeship with leading machinery dealer O’Connors is the key to lifelong career opportunities in agriculture and is urging others to jump at the chance to do the same.

The Tullamore local is living the dream after successfully applying for a spot in the O’Connors RedStart Apprenticeship Program.

In January 2023, he started on the tools as an apprentice agriculture service technician at the O’Connors dealership in Forbes, central-west NSW.

Will says the program is giving him the skills and self-belief that he’ll be the best technician he can be.

“Every day I’m provided support and mentorship from experienced O’Connors staff through on-the-job training, on top of that I’m given valuable independence to grow my craft — it’s the best of both worlds really,” he said.

Will says he loves his job, is motivated by working closely with customers, enjoys the camaraderie with like-minded colleagues and relishes working in the O’Connors Forbes workshop, which he says is world-class.

And there are many other benefits for RedStart apprentices, according to Will.

“When you start, you’re given a new Kincrome toolbox worth $5000, there are program social functions and the opportunity to move across the O’Connors network to experience a variety of workshops and work on diverse agricultural equipment,” he said.

“Earlier this year I was lucky enough to spend a week in the O’Connors Ouyen branch in the Mallee region of Victoria, to work on a SeedMaster Air Seeder.

“I had always wanted to travel and what better way to do it while working and getting paid.”

Over the four-year program, all RedStart apprentices are enrolled in the Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology course through the dedicated Case IH training centre at NSW TAFE, based in Wagga Wagga.

Applications for the 2024 RedStart Apprenticeship Program are now open, and Will Thomas says it’s a no brainer for anyone with a passion for agriculture, machinery, problem-solving and a willingness to learn, to apply.

He is reminding aspiring apprentices that in the long-term there are countless career paths with O’Connors.

“If you don’t want to be a service or truck technician, engineer or parts interpreter for the rest of your life, that’s fine.

“You can work your way throughout the business into other roles in sales, marketing, human resources, logistics or administration.”

With 390 staff, O’Connors is the largest Case IH dealer in the country — with 16 dealerships across South Australia, Victoria and NSW.

O’Connors’ HR manager Lisa Day said at the heart of every great business are great employees.

“The RedStart Apprenticeship Program helps us identify quality and passionate individuals starting out in the agricultural machinery sector with the potential to be the best in the business,” Lisa said.

“It’s a valuable long-term investment by O’Connors to grow its own talent, for now and into the future. The depth and scale of our talent base is what gives us the edge in the industry”.

Applications for the RedStart Apprenticeship Program are open until December 31, 2023.

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