'Brilliant' sessions put trainees on the right track
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
DALE youngsters got behind the wheels of a variety of vehicles as part of the latest round of training sessions organised by Utass (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services) to help improve employability.
The training, which was funded by a grant of £6,840 from the Wellesley Trust Fund, saw the trainees tackle quad bikes, pre-test tractors, Lantra Tractor driving and car and trailer lessons.
Lewis Wearmouth, 22, and William Gale, 17, spent the day at Deepdale 4x4 with instructor Graeme Gill improving skills in the all terrain vehicles they will be using at the farms where they work.
Mr Gill said: “Every employer has a duty of care to train their staff and driving a quad bike is no exception.
“One of the most important things we do is highlight the age limit for these vehicles.”
He added the training not only helps young drivers build their skills, but also equips them with the know-how to assess the terrain they will be driving on in a safe and knowledgeable way.
Mr Wearmouth said: “I have learned so much more than I knew before I came, not just about driving the vehicle but maintaining it as well.
“It’s essential to have this kind of training for young people.”
Mr Gill added: “Although Lewis will be able to drive the quads on and off road now, William will have to wait until he has passed his driving test, although he is now licensed to use them on the farm he works on.”
While Lewis and William were busy on the ATV vehicles, another dale youngster, Joshua Atkinson was busy elsewhere on the site with Andrew Kidd getting ready for his trailer towing test. Anyone who passed their driving test after 1997 is not licensed to tow a trailer, something which is essential in the farming industry.
The funding also provided Lantra tractor training sessions for Oliver Dennis and Winston Kirkup at Middleton-in-Teesdale auction mart.
Julia Stephenson, from Utass, who organising the various training sessions, said: “Feedback from applicants who have accessed these opportunities demonstrates how brilliant it has been.”