The Milking Equipment Association (MEA) has launched its new Milking System Technician Accreditation (MSTA) courses.

Category 2 courses for new technicians looking to improve their skills and knowledge will be delivered by Hartpury College starting October 12.

Category 3 courses for experienced technicians seeking to establish themselves as supervisors and leaders will be offered by Reaseheath College beginning November 22.

Both courses will offer a mixture of online and in-college delivery.

“Farmers should receive the highest level of technical support for their milking equipment, and we believe that technicians who can complete these courses will be able to offer this,” said MEA chair, John Baines.

These courses will help dairy technicians stand apart in the industry with accreditations that demonstrate their learning, skills, and commitment.”

The MSTA courses, previously under the name Parlour Safe, have been updated and rebranded in 2022 to reflect developments in dairying, especially the increase in robotic and automatic milking systems.

There are already 216 technicians accredited at Category 2 and 71 accredited at Category 3.

Baines said: “We believe this demonstrates the industry’s commitment to training and continuing professional development.

“The courses and assessment are a way to benchmark the quality of service being offered.

We also hope that this is being driven by farmer awareness and the need to be reassured that technicians working on complex equipment have received a suitable level of training,” he adds.

2022 has been the launch year for Category 4, Master Dairy Engineering Technician courses.

This accreditation takes a different approach, with only Category 3 technicians able to apply for professional review and interview by an independent panel of assessors.

“Category 4 is aligned with the professional standards required for application to the Engineering Council for Engineering Technician registration.

“It is a new benchmark for the milking industry and a goal for those who are true specialists,” said Baines.

The college fees to complete the courses are £2500 for Category 2 and £2400 for Category 3, with the option to spread the cost over two years.