O’Connors REDSTART is the best start to a career in agriculture.

Continued expansion and an increase in customer servicing and support needs requiring Heavy Diesel Service Technicians was the catalyst for Agricultural Machinery dealership group, O’Connors to formalise their approach to apprenticeship recruitment and training. 

O’Connors who own and operate fifteen Case IH dealerships across Victoria, South Australia and NSW launched their REDSTART Apprenticeship program at the end of 2020.

The REDSTART apprenticeship program is designed to entice passionate candidates and position them as industry leaders in machinery service and support. In turn O’Connors will guide and support them through their training to become the best apprentice they can possibly be.

The REDSART program opens for applications in July each year and accepts service technicians, truck technicians, engineering apprentices and parts interpreter trainees as part of the annual intake for apprentices.

O’Connors HR Manager, Lisa Day commented that “as a Company we have identified the need to ‘grow our own’ in all facets of our business. The industry is facing challenges with a national shortage of Qualified Service Technicians (Heavy Diesel Mechanics) and believe the best way to ensure that O’Connors continues to provide the high level of customer satisfaction is through a dedicated apprenticeship program designed explicitly to suit the needs of our customers.”

“O’Connors has long been committed to apprentices and the philosophy of growing our own and have now formalised this into the REDSTART Apprenticeship Program and look forward to attracting, training and retaining apprentices and trainees throughout the organisation” Ms Day said.

“We want this program to attract the best possible candidates and for the lucky applicants accepted into the program each year to be rewarded through a first-class apprenticeship program filled with incentives only on offer to the REDSTART trainees” Ms Day explained.

Candidates who successfully join the program will attend TAFENSW located in Wagga Wagga who have a dedicated Case IH training centre where apprentices will have the opportunity to complete their training working on the latest product range from Case IH.

All successful candidates will be enrolled into the Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology which includes CASE IH specific training at the dedicated facility. Wayne Sibrey, Head Teacher of Automotive is responsible for delivering the program to REDSTART apprentices. “No other training organisation or facility offers this type of dedicated ag mechanical training”. Wayne explained when describing the course “We have a tailored program for Case IH. The course is contextualised for apprentices to suit the seasonal requirements of the workplace, meaning that the course is delivered in sync to farming practices. Prior to Harvest we undertake Harvester training as part of the block. Prior to sowing we focus on the issues that the apprentices will likely face as farmers start to manage that part of their yearly workload.”

“We have a partnership with Case IH who supply the latest machinery and components for the program, ensuring our students are given access to the most up-to-date and advanced equipment. We also integrate Case IH online diagnostic training modules through Web Academy and Datar oscilloscope diagnostic training. There is also a heavy focus on hydraulics, guidance (GPS) and electrical training” Wayne continues

“We know that apprentices need to have hands on experience in real-world environments and we deliver that on a 140-acre working farm. The farm allows us to implement faults, test and repair in the workshop and test drive under real in-paddock conditions. We can install and program GPS Systems and simulate real life scenarios.  Further to this we have a state-of-the-art hydraulics training lab that is quite possibly the best hydraulics lab in the southern hemisphere, which our students use to build hydraulic circuits that replicate those on the machinery they work on, with the added advantage of clear valving so they can follow oil flow through the systems” he said.

Continued expansion and an increase in customer servicing and support needs requiring Heavy Diesel Service Technicians was the catalyst for Agricultural Machinery dealership group, O’Connors to formalise their approach to apprenticeship recruitment and training.

The REDSTART Training is delivered through TAFENSW in 10-day blocks throughout the year and apprentices are provided with accommodation and allowances throughout the duration of the training.

Other incentives include a Kincrome toolbox and tools valued at $5000, additional internal training, REDSTART social functions and the opportunity to move around the dealership network to experience a variety of workshops and work on diverse agricultural equipment. O’Connors also run REDSTART group sessions where all apprentices will come together for activities, training and professional development.

To consolidate their commitment to the Apprenticeship Program, O’Connors have appointed an Apprenticeship Coordinator for the REDSTART program, Tim Nagorcka

“Tim has been employed specifically to provide mentoring and guidance to the REDSTART apprentices and trainees throughout their training, ensuring they are well supported throughout their apprenticeship. Alongside this function, as Tim moves around the Dealership network in support of each REDSTART year-level he will promote the REDSTART program, meeting with educational institutions and prospective apprentices and their parents.” Ms Day continued

“Having a dedicated resource for the REDSTART program will guarantee our apprentices are given the right support and individual training and development opportunities will be identified throughout their apprenticeship. This will all contribute to our apprentices being able to reach their potential and establish a successful career with O’Connors”

Corey Bell – a qualified service technician at the O’Connors Warracknabeal branch in the Wimmera region of Victoria completed his apprenticeship within the dealership.

“Work as a Diesel

Mechanic for O’Connors is hugely rewarding and satisfying” Corey said “we’re given the responsibility and autonomy to problem solve and diagnose faults to find the ro


ot cause of the client’s issues and to implement the solutions as required to rectify the problems. Working with such high-tech and powerful equipment and knowing that we are part of the support mechanism

that ensures that farmers can continue to grow the food we need to feed the world is a great feeling” he explained.

Applications for the 2022 REDSTART program are now open until the 29th of August.


For further information or to apply please go to https://www.oconnorscareers.com.au/apprenticeship-program/

or contact Tim Nagorcka- P: 0448598000 E: tnagorcka@jjoconnor.com.au