NEWS RELEASE   July 15, 2022

John Deere Apprentice Technician finalists announced

Crestmead, Queensland (15 July, 2022) – A TALENTED pool of apprentice technicians with careers on the rise will vie for the title of Agriculture Service Apprentice of the Year at the second annual John Deere Technician Awards.

John Deere Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Luke Chandler, congratulated the four Australian apprentices: Oliver Dean, Hutcheon & Pearce, Cowra; Jack Jones, RDO Equipment, Roma; Josh Kramer, Emmetts, Roseworthy; and Thomas Conroy, Brandt, Ballarat. They are now set to contend with two New Zealand apprentices for the coveted title.

"Apprentices are the industry's next generation, and this group of ambitious, hardworking and talented young people is a clear indicator our sector is in safe hands," Mr Chandler said.

"Year on year John Deere dealerships commit to training and upskilling both the field service and parts apprentices across rural and regional Australia."

"The role of a technician, although traditionally hands-on, has become highly technical and these apprentices will go on to provide imperative backup support to farmers and help the industry fully grasp the opportunities of precision agriculture."

Mr Chandler also congratulated the four John Deere Parts Apprentice Technician finalists: Kaylyn-Rose Netrval, RDO Equipment, Rutherford; Lauren Cortes, RDO Equipment, Dalby; Mitchell Channer, AFGRI Equipment, South Guildford; and, Matt Harvey, Midland Tractors, Longford. They will now be joined by one John Deere New Zealand Parts Apprentice in the final round.

"Parts technicians play an integral role in ensuring the agriculture, forestry and construction industries have a rapid flow of parts and equipment to their machines, which helps ensure businesses are working at peak capacity and productivity," he said.  

The John Deere Technician Awards were established in 2021 to recognise the hard work and expertise technicians provide to farmers across Australia and New Zealand, and their drive to support operators and businesses to be their most efficient, productive and profitable.

In total, more than 100 nominations from across Australia and New Zealand were received for the Awards, with finalists competing in six different categories, including Agriculture Service Technician of the Year, Construction & Forestry Service Technician of the Year, Turf Service Apprentice of the Year.

The award winners will be announced at a special gala event on 5 August, Brisbane, Queensland.  


Oliver Dean: Hutcheon & Pearce, Cowra, New South Wales

Oliver Dean said his role working as a Hutcheon and Pearce apprentice in Cowra has combined his two greatest passions: mechanics and agriculture. As a fourth-year apprentice, Oliver recently proved his adaptiveness and ability to work under pressure when he assisted a Young contract-farming business in an urgent repair during the peak of harvest. After watching Oliver in action, the machinery owner remarked the 21-year-old apprentice had "skill and acumen" well above his years.

Growing up on a mixed-enterprise farming operation, Oliver intimately understands the need for machinery to be working at optimal performance and regularly goes above and beyond to ensure farmers are getting the most out of their equipment. Oliver has a "hunger" for being challenged and enjoys the scope of work required by John Deere technicians, from completing lawn mower services to enacting pre-season checks on big-ticket harvesting equipment.

Jack Jones: RDO Equipment, Roma, Queensland

Fourth-year Roma apprentice Jack Jones always had ambitions to become an automotive mechanic, but that changed during a Year 10 work experience stint at Roma's John Deere dealership during school holidays. Jack realised his interest was in agricultural machinery, and working with the dealership's staff and farmers convinced him a career as a technician would be his ideal fit.

On a daily basis, Jack turns to John Deere's JDLink™ and Connected Support to remotely diagnose and optimise machine performance.

Josh Kramer: Emmetts, Roseworthy, South Australia

Less than halfway through his apprenticeship at Emmetts, Roseworthy, Josh Kramer is already at the helm of the dealership's small agriculture and turf equipment backup support service. Josh enjoys the variety and challenge of the job, fueled by his zeal for agriculture production, which he believes plays a vital role in underpinning the Australian economy.

Recently, Josh proved his tenaciousness when working alongside qualified technicians assisting farmers during the seeding season, which saw him complete long hours on farm to ensure equipment was running at full capacity during challenging weather and tight timeframes.

Thomas Conroy: Brandt, Ballarat, Victoria

One of the greatest achievements of Thomas Conroy's career, so far, was the opportunity to work from his own field service vehicle. After spending time learning the ropes in Brandt's Ballarat workshop, the third-year apprentice relished the opportunity to get on farm. His work on the road started with servicing small agriculture machinery then soon progressed to diagnostics across bigger equipment, including major engine and transmission work and harvester pre-season inspection and repairs.

Thomas's interest in mechanics was formed early on, and as a teenager he grasped every opportunity to operate or repair construction and agriculture equipment. After completing work experience at his local dealership, he formally started his Field Service Technician training in 2019.


Kaylyn-Rose Netrval: RDO Equipment, Rutherford, New South Wales

Although having no previous background in farming, Kaylyn-Rose Netrval always had a strong desire to work within the agriculture industry and now, after building her skills as a Parts Apprentice at Rutherford's John Deere dealership, she is well on her way to making that a long and successful career.

During her apprenticeship Kaylyn-Rose has developed a thorough understanding of John Deere machinery, from large tractors to nimble mowers, in order to best help customers secure the parts they need. Kaylyn-Rose said she loves the problem-solving aspect of her role, as well as getting to know the great customers at the dealership. Today, she has earned a reputation for excellence, with many customers requesting her by name for her expertise in sourcing and securing parts.

Lauren Cortes: RDO Equipment, Dalby, Queensland

Although only 23, Lauren Cortes has already sunk her teeth into a wide variety of jobs within the agriculture industry, including working as a jillaroo on a cattle station in the Northern Territory and as a pen rider in a feedlot in Queensland. It was during these formative experiences Lauren witnessed the integral role John Deere equipment played in farming businesses, which piqued her interest in the heavy machinery sector. About a year ago, Lauren applied for an apprenticeship with RDO Equipment in Dalby and is now thoroughly enjoying her day-to-day role of equipping farmers with a swift supply of parts.

Lauren said she had been well supported by her colleagues who have taken the time to answer her questions and guide her through any challenging part orders. She is eager to pay that gratitude forward by becoming a mentor for any other young people interested in a similar career path.

Mitchell Channer: AFGRI Equipment, South Guildford, Western Australia        

Mitchell Channer is well aware the world relies on heavy machinery, whether it is for producing food and fibre or for building vital infrastructure, and it's that fundamental necessity which attracted him to the machinery servicing industry as a Parts Technician Apprentice.

Mitchell has a knack for problem solving and embraces the daily challenges of his role which has earnt him a reputation for quality service among AFGRI Equipment's customer base. Customers often say they're surprised to learn he's still a trainee as his in-depth knowledge of the John Deere product range is beyond his years.

Matt Harvey: Midland Tractors, Longford, Tasmania

Knowing a smooth supply of parts from dealerships to equipment working in the paddock increases uptime and productivity for farming businesses was the driving motivator for Matt Harvey to apply for a Parts Technician Apprenticeship.

A natural conversationalist, he wasted no time in building a rapport with his dealership's customers, which includes large-scale agriculture contractors with substantial fleets to hobby farmers running utility tractors. Matt's cool and calm nature has also made him ideal for the role as he is often tasked with securing urgent parts or required to problem solve solutions to ensure farmers can receive their equipment faster.


Agriculture Service Technician of the Year Finalists

(will compete for Australia only Award) 

  • Jaymee Ireland, Emmetts, Roseworthy, South Australia
  • Vincent Powditch, RDO Equipment, Taree South, New South Wales
  • Karl Moschella, Honeycombes, Ayr, Queensland
  • William Lawless, Brandt, Sunshine, Victoria

Construction & Forestry Service Technician of the Year Finalists

(will also compete against two New Zealand technicians for a combined New Zealand/Australian Award)

  • Peter Roughley, RDO Equipment, Eastern Creek, New South Wales
  • Scott Jackson, RDO Equipment, Richlands, Queensland
  • Max O'Brien, RDO Equipment, Wingfield, South Australia
  • Ben Mummery, AFGRI Equipment, Albany, Western Australia

Turf Technician of the Year Finalists

(will also compete against one New Zealand technician for a combined New Zealand/Australian Award)

  • Cameron Black, RDO Equipment, Lismore, New South Wales
  • Michael Gemzik, RDO Equipment, Loganholme, Queensland
  • John Mooney, AFGRI Equipment, South Guildford, Western Australia
  • Adam Kent, Brandt, Knoxfield, Victoria

Service Apprentice of the Year Finalists

(will also compete against two New Zealand apprentice for a combined New Zealand/Australian Award)

  • Oliver Dean, Hutcheon & Pearce, Cowra, New South Wales
  • Jack Jones, RDO Equipment, Roma, Queensland
  • Josh Kramer, Emmetts, Roseworthy, South Australia
  • Thomas Conroy, Brandt, Ballarat, Victoria

Parts Technician of the Year Finalists

(will compete for Australia only Award)

  • Sally Clayton, Hutcheon & Pearce, Forbes, New South Wales
  • Caitlin Williams, RDO Equipment, Gympie, Queensland
  • Dillon James, AFGRI Equipment, Narrogin, Western Australia
  • Sarah Lewis, Brandt, Terang, Victoria

Parts Apprentice of the Year Finalists

(will also compete against one New Zealand apprentice for a combined New Zealand/Australian Award)

  • Kaylyn-Rose Netrval, RDO Equipment, Rutherford, New South Wales
  • Lauren Cortes, RDO Equipment, Dalby, Queensland
  • Mitchell Channer, AFGRI Equipment, South Guildford, Western Australia
  • Matt Harvey, Midland Tractors, Longford, Tasmania

About Deere & Company:

Deere & Company is a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, golf & turf, construction, and forestry equipment. We help our customers push the boundaries of what's possible in ways that are more productive and sustainable to help life leap forward. Our technology-enabled products including the John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and See & Spray™ are just two of the ways we help meet the world's increasing need for food, shelter, and infrastructure. Deere & Company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at or in Australia at

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