Logan Robertson ANZ Service Apprentice:
John Deere's Trans-Tasman Service Apprentice of the Year, Logan Robertson, initially found out he was a finalist in the awards while in Mongolia, as part of the National Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar.
"I had taken a month's holiday and went over there during their summer, when John Deere messaged me to say I was a finalist," Mr Robertson said.
The variety in the workplace is the element Logan most appreciates about his job. All the same, he found it ‘a wee bit nerve-wracking', not knowing what to expect at the awards judging in Brisbane in August.
"Once we got there it was great, really good to meet all the other finalists and hear their stories and to put faces to names at John Deere, because we met a lot of John Deere employees as well," he said.
"I was surprised to win. You never quite know, even once all the testing is done.
"I have always taken the opportunity to do a lot of the training and programs, there's a lot of learning to be done at John Deere."
Logan grew up in Wallacetown, 10 minutes from Invercargill and started work at a local garage when he was 13 years old, sweeping floors and helping out. After leaving school he became qualified as a light petrol mechanic.
Taking on the apprenticeship with Southland to specialise in heavy machinery and precision agriculture technology was a big step up in learning, but Logan will complete his four years at the end of 2022 and says it's a really good industry to be involved in.
"It was great having the background in cars, but to come from a country garage where we didn't have a lot to do with new vehicles, into the John Deere dealership with all the latest tech and equipment, was great. It's amazing how far it's come in just the last few years," Logan said.
He likes the variety of being out and about and covering ‘a fair area', servicing clients within a radius of two and a half hours of Invercargill in any direction. While he works mainly on dairy farms, the summer brings plenty of ag contractors who are baling grass for silage and harvesting crops.
Logan is clear about what constitutes a good service apprentice.
"Good communications – doing what we say we're going to do, when we say we're going to do it," he said.
"The way the world is at the moment (post-pandemic), a lot of things with parts and freight are a bit all over the place, so we just keep in regular contact and let the customers know what's happening."
For now, Logan's plan is to keep learning about the vast array of tools he can use to ensure he does the right thing by his customers.
"John Deere is a world leader in precision agriculture technology and I've been heavily involved in introducing new technology to farmers and contractors to help streamline and enhance their operations," Logan said.
"While some farmers were a little reluctant to adopt this technology at first, I've been able to demonstrate to them how tools like JDLink™ can not only improve their businesses but also help me provide faster backup support, so that we maximise machinery uptime during the critical peak times."