Press Release

New industry leading CLAAS Academy opened at Saxham

As part of the redevelopment of its Saxham headquarters, CLAAS UK has opened a new £1.2 million purpose built CLAAS Academy, designed to provide industry leading training for dealer sales, service and parts staff, and also customer operator training.

CLAAS has long recognised the importance of offering customers a high level of service and support for the CLAAS machinery that they operate, and the key to achieving this is through the service and support training it offers. The new CLAAS Academy is the seventh location on the Saxham site since the first Training School was opened in 1954, employing just one trainer. Advanced Master Mechanic training was introduced 20 years ago and the highest Master Technician level was formed in 2002, creating the current 4-step career progression pathway for dealer Service Engineers.

Today, the new CLAAS Academy employs a total of 11 staff and has the capacity to offer over 5,000 training days a year. In addition to customer operator and dealer sales, service and parts staff training, the CLAAS Academy plays an integral role in developing the industry standard training pathway that young apprentices and service mechanics follow.

Level 1 is the CLAAS Apprenticeship scheme, with 85 students currently undertaking a service or parts apprenticeship. Once they have completed their formal training at either Reaseheath College or SRUC Barony in Scotland, they graduate to Level 2 as a Service Mechanic, with the opportunity for further training to progress to Level 3 as a Master Mechanic.  Finally, the very best can undertake an intensive specialist assessment to become a Master Technician at Level 4.

The new CLAAS Academy features extensive classrooms, break-out areas and five workshop areas capable of accommodating the largest CLAAS combines and forage harvesters, and the new facilities will enable trainers to fully demonstrate all the advanced features of the machines to customers and dealer staff.

Every year, the new CLAAS Academy will utilise almost £6 million worth of machinery. In addition to formal classroom training, the Academy is developing a new eLearning facility using videos and animations, with two staff dedicated to this new facility which is expected within three years will offer over 20 eLearning programmes. The Academy is also setting new standards in the use of bar and QR codes to support self-discovery training, in addition to the introduction of 3D printed training aids.

The number of training programmes has also been increased. A new sales training programme has been introduced, which mirrors the current Service and Parts training. Full in-house training to OEM level on the full range of third-party engines used within the CLAAS machinery range is to also be offered, using a dedicated workshop.

The new CLAAS Academy was officially opened by Lothar Kriszun on 4th October 2017.  Lothar is approaching retirement and is currently handing over his responsibilities after 36 years with the CLAAS Group, most recently serving on the CLAAS Executive Board, where he was both the official Speaker for the Group and responsible for the CLAAS Tractor business unit.

“Today, more than ever, training is crucial for the success of CLAAS as a company. Farmers are in an environment that requires a high level of professionalism, and our new Academy will help us achieve that. Trained people in sales and service are the backbone of our reputation.”

“The CLAAS Academy is never a static entity. By aiming to lead the field and striving to offer the most effective solutions, there is a constant need for ongoing development. Academy at CLAAS means the best in class education for equipment sales and service and this new Academy building will underline this role as market leader in operator training.”

“Only through the work of the CLAAS Academy can our dealers cope with the increasing complexity of machinery. Moreover, we are at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, leading by example and setting new standards in terms of online machinery training and the next generation of smart training.”

From left to right: Vivienne Clements (Mayoress), Trevor Tyrrell (CEO CLAAS UK), Terry Clements (Mayor for St Edmundsbury), Lothar Kriszun (CLAAS Group), Bernd Ludewig (Member of the CLAAS Group Executive Board)

From left to right: Hattie Fletcher, Trevor Tyrrell (CEO CLAAS UK), Bernd Ludewig (Member of the CLAAS Group Executive Board), Terry Clements (Mayor for St Edmundsbury), Vivienne Clements (Mayoress), Lothar Kriszun (CLAAS Group), Thomas Spiering (CFO CLAAS UK), Temi Animasaun