Parlour Safe, the Milking Equipment Association’s (MEA) industry training scheme for engineers and technicians, has been accredited by the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) in recognition of its professional quality and the standard of its training.

Offered solely by Reaseheath and one other land based college, the scheme comprises three categories depending on knowledge and previous experience: Category 1 (self registration), Category 2 (introductory) and Category 3 (Advanced) There are future plans to offer Category 4 (Master Technician).

Thanks to the new accreditation, those accredited to Level 3 and above are recognised for their standard of technical excellence, can join IAgrE and can register as engineering technicians with the Engineering Council. Although currently voluntary, it is likely that all technicians will be required to achieve accreditation in the future.

Demand for the accreditation continues to rise as dairy farmers seek to work with professional technicians to maximise parlour efficiencies.

Reaseheath’s engineering department has worked closely with the MEA to create a bespoke modular course held over four blocks that offers the latest practical and technical information on all aspects of parlour management, from dynamic testing and cow welfare to health and safety and building design.

Course Leader Mike Cullen explained: “Parlour Safe provides a means of benchmarking and assessing the competence of technicians employed within the milking equipment sector. The MEA has established this scheme so it offers respected and professional accreditation to the highest standards and we’ve worked in partnership to ensure that the syllabus is credible, challenging and meets the needs of its industry.

“As well as giving nationally recognised status to its engineers, the accreditations set a benchmark for installation and servicing standards and provide a clear career development path which will attract young engineers into the industry.”

IAgrE CEO Ed Hansom commented: “The Parlour Safe scheme is fast becoming the benchmark standard for the milking equipment industry and delivers well-trained, competent, safe and reliable technicians. The quality of Reaseheath’s training is exemplary and its engineering department is thoroughly deserving of IAgrE accreditation.”

MEA Chief Executive Ruth Bailey said: “I am thrilled for everyone involved in Parlour Safe that it has received this prestigious status from IAgrE acknowledging the expertise and technical abilities of milking machine engineers and technicians. It is critical that we validate our professionals and offer the assurances that the sector is looking for.”

Our current fifth cohort of Parlour Safe Category 3 technicians comprises 12 professionals from throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. All have Parlour Safe Category 2 due to previous experience and include technicians who work for leading milking parlour manufacturers DeLaval, Fullwood, GEA UK, Lely and BouMatic or for their dealerships. Other students include a dairy vet and an engineer keen to expand his knowledge of robotics.