Agri-food is an industry that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership is focused on to help keep the region competitive and cutting-edge.
Did you know
What is agri-tech?
In Cornwall, the incorporation of better technology in the agriculture sector an increase performance, efficiency, profitability and growth. The aim is to encourage more award-winning export-successful products. Agri-tech also includes the use of automation, such as controlling heaters and irrigation.
Source: CIoS LEP
We got the chance to speak to Zoe who is an administrator for Hamblys. Hamblys is the largest agricultural machinery supplier in the South West. A family-owned business, dedicated to providing high-quality new and used agricultural machinery and equipment.
Hi Zoe, can you tell me a bit about your job and what it entails?
I help Richard, he’s the Service Manager, based at the Redruth Office, and also my fiancé! I handle paperwork and administrative tasks, supporting the running of the Southern England Farms tractor hire fleet.
I also help with the sorting out of jobs in terms of making sure invoices are good to send out to customers.
What do you know about the agriculture sector?
I would say my knowledge of the agriculture sector is limited. Working at Hamblys, I know the different models of tractors and other machinery used in the sector. I understand there are many types of farms from dairy to beef or crops. I also understand the different seasons throughout the year of farming, for example, when silage season starts and ends. To learn what silage is, click here.
Do you enjoy the work you do?
I do enjoy it as I love organising paperwork and making sure things are up to date.
What are the different aspects of your job ?
Personally, for me, the depot I work in has great banter, everyone has a good sense of humour and we’re a great team. However, when it is busy, which is 95% of the year, it is BUSY. Farming is all year round and something is always needing to be fixed so that farmers can get on with their working day. Therefore, there is a lot of overtime for the engineers and workshop manager as well as call outs and going the extra mile to keep your customers working.
When farmers come to buy tractors or machinery what is the main thing they’re looking for?
I would say it used to be massively reliable. Farmers rely on their machinery for their livelihoods, whether it be to feed their dairy/beef cattle or to sow crops in time.
But, with the way things are financially, now, a lot of farmers will look at price and go with the best deal they can find.
Do customers value good technology on their machines?
Depends on the farmer/ customer. Some farmers have welcomed technology as it can be a big help in some sectors.
Some older farmers don’t love technology as much as they tend to think it just causes more problems than solves them. Sometimes, a technological problem can be harder to pinpoint and fix than a simple mechanical one that can be fixed with spanners rather than a laptop. However, sometimes a technological problem can be a simple fix if the problem is pinpointed easily, such as a simple software update.
Do you think technology is an important part of the agriculture sector?
It has certainly helped a lot of farmers. For example, planting something like potatoes or cabbages requires precise work beforehand so that they can be planted in straight rows, therefore maximising the amount of crop a farmer can get. They can then utilise the fertiliser without overlapping or wasting any, keeping costs down. This is important as fertiliser as well as the fuel for machinery has gone up in price like everything else.
If someone wanted to move into working with machinery, what would your advice be?
If you don’t have machinery knowledge but have an interest, an apprenticeship is a really good way to get into the industry. Claas (our main supplier) do their own apprenticeships.
What would you say are the top transferrable skills?
Communication is definitely an important skill to have as if you have a couple of engineers working on a piece of machinery, they need to know what the other is doing/ has done to the machine already so not to repeat or miss anything.
Using your initiative is another good skill, as being able to get on with a job is useful, although knowing when to ask for help is also good!
Reliability is a great skill to have in this industry as farmers rely on engineers almost 24/7 to carry out repairs to enable them to carry on running their farms with little interference.
We’re here to help you find out what it is you’d like to pursue! We can provide advice, guidance and also funding towards training. Get in touch with us and we can get the ball rolling.
Tel: 0333 015 0699
We can’t wait to hear from you!
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