Barony Engineer Drew Wins Top SRUC Award for Business Development

Published Wednesday, 26th June 2013 in Study at SRUC news

Drew Easton receives award from Sandy Inverarity CBE

Well respected agricultural engineer, Drew Easton, Head of Engineering at the Barony campus of Scotland’s Rural College, has been presented with the 2013 Inverarity Award.

The award, named after college former Chairman Sandy Inverarity CBE, recognises a special contribution to innovation and development within the SRUC business. Drew received his award at the Royal Highland Show from Sandy Inverarity himself.

Announcing the award SRUC Principal and Chief Executive Professor Bob Webb said the nomination provides all the key elements for the Inverarity prize.

"Drew’s work is founded in business development and transforming a good business relationship into the provision of sector-leading training and skills. The award winning engineering department at Barony has developed new programmes that have changed the face of agricultural engineering and given Scotland’s Rural College in a new leading role.”

Professor Webb focussed on the innovative business Drew has established with the global agricultural engineering company CLASS. It began eight years ago, after winning a contract to train apprentices from the company’s dealership network in N. England, Scotland and Ireland. The latest new contract involves training not only technicians, but parts, sales and management staff. The existing network supports around 1000 trainees but this is forecast to grow to some 15,000 within the next 7 years. CLAAS senior management recently visited SRUC in Edinburgh to discuss further developments.

Speaking after Drew received his award Russell Clarke, Regional Sales Manager for CLAAS in the north of Scotland said: 

“Partnerships like this are more important than they have ever been for the industry. We now have engineers coming into our business who have been trained to our standards and which meet our needs. Drew has helped develop a shared vision for the future.”

The Barony team’s reputation is also demonstrated by the progress of the Land-based Technician Accreditation (LTA) schemes. Backed by manufacturers of agricultural, forestry, ground care and milking equipment LTA is a way of benchmarking, monitoring and assessing technician competence and helps give them a clear career structure and an incentive to continue regular training.

SRUC’s Barony campus is a UK pilot centre for LTA and has developed on-line teaching material in a number of areas. Currently 2807 people are registered on the LTA schemes but over 10,400 people work in the land-based engineering sector UK wide. In addition the Barony team are developing material for independent, non franchised dealerships.

Recently the team won the International category at the Scotland’s Colleges Annual Awards for a new, on-line training programme “Hydraulics and Fluid Power”, developed with Australian company CDX. It has widespread applications from offshore platforms, remote mining areas and agriculture to construction, forestry and aerospace. Already it has been bought by a major international airline. 

Drew Easton was surprised, honoured and delighted to receive his award:

“I am thrilled at the success of what we have achieved with CLAAS in the last eight years, helping them achieve their vision for the apprenticeship programme. The LTA scheme is a cross industry initiative and we look forward to working with other industry partners in the future”.

“The revival of agricultural engineering is a key aim within the new UK agri-tech strategy”, ended Bob Webb. “The work by Drew and his team creates a focus of attention on SRUC and the Barony campus.”

Picture caption: Drew Easton receives his award from Sandy Inverarity CBE.

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