In December 2021, the first class of students graduated from the Fendt Technician Academy at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Lisle, Ill.
The 12-week advanced program trains students to work with Fendt’s technology to gain in-depth knowledge about the brand’s engines, powertrains, hydraulics, electronics and Fuse technology. Classes are limited to 12-15 students and are taught by Fendt-certified program instructors who bring real-world industry experience to the program. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be associate, expert and Fendt Technical Theory certified.
The program isn’t open to just anyone, explains Kimberly Fanning, national program manager for UTI. To be eligible for the Fendt program, applicants must be current students in UTI’s Diesel Technology program and must have a 3.0 GPA. In addition, applicants go through an interview with one of UTI’s advanced training managers, who recruit students from all of UTI’s 14 campuses. The advanced training managers also work on getting those students employed at a Fendt dealership, Fanning explains. The program is also open to current Fendt dealer employees who have been working for the dealership a minimum of 1-2 years.
“We’re recruiting out of the existing student population of UTI across all auto and diesel campuses. We have different events that our team puts on to identify the right candidates and really go through an interview process to make sure they are the right fit for the program. They need to understand not only that they’re going to get the training, but also the requirement that then they have to go work for a Fendt dealer,” explains Michael Sursi, director of advanced training recruitment for UTI. “We do different events specifically for Fendt, as well as on each campus a couple times a year, as well as we have subject matter experts at each campus that help drive and identify each potential student usually about 8 courses before they graduate. And that’s where we get a large portion of our candidates.”
While UTI has campuses across the U.S., the Fendt program is only offered at the Lisle, Ill., campus. Once students are paired up with a dealer, the dealer pays for housing during the 12-week term. “The housing is such a big incentive for students who opted to take this program because they don’t have to worry about relocating from California and getting into an apartment for 3 months, and then getting back home; having their housing paid is a tremendous help to our students,” says Fanning.
The Fendt Technician Academy offers an accelerated timeframe to complete nearly all of the Fendt certified technician training.
“From a high level perspective, again, part of the reason that AGCO wanted to provide this opportunity is to really address the technician shortage, and also to build a sustainable pipeline for tech recruiting for their dealers,” Sursi says. “In the Fendt technician academy, they’re able to get three of the four levels of training that AGCO currently provides. So, in the bigger scope of things a student in 12 weeks can get associate level one, level two, the technical level, technical theory, three. And they’re only one level away from completing all of the training that the Fendt brand has.”
Topics Covered in the 12-Week Program
- Fendt tractor history & innovations
- Fendt services & equipment
- Fendt tractor operations & maintenance services
- 10-step customer/machine resolution process
- Electrical systems & testing
- CAN network
- Tractor controller ID
- Calibrations, troubleshooting & practical applications
- Deutz & MAN engines specs, ID & basic engine structure
- Engine systems testing & diagnostics
- VarioDrive drivetrains & transmissions
- Hydraulics testing & diagnostics
- Pneumatic system & pressure testing
- FUSE technology systems: Fendt Auto-Guide, Task Doc & Connect
The UTI staff works on connecting students to dealers and will help the student identify their top 5 dealers they are interested in working for. Then, UTI will send resumes directly to those dealers on the students’ behalf. “We’re making a considerable effort to connect both the dealer and the Fendt Technician Academy student together so they can then start that process. There’s multiple ways that we attempt to connect with the dealer and the student,” Sursi says.
“Even during the recruiting process, as we’re interviewing, we’re asking them to make sure that they’re A) willing to relocate if they need to, and B) commit to working for a Fendt dealer for at least a year if not longer. Making sure they have that understanding before they start the program allows us to try and match them up as close as we can to where they’d like to go after graduation. And some people want to head back home, but others are willing to take other opportunities across the country,” he says.
Looking ahead, Fanning says UTI will likely have 3-4 classes that start every year, so the program will graduate 45-60 students annually.Sounding the Alarm: Technician Shortage Hurts the Bottom Line Putting Technicians in the PipelineAGCO Partners with Universal Technical Institute for Fendt Ag Tech Training KanEquip Takes New Approach with Tuition Reimbursement for New TechsTitan Machinery Takes Grassroots Approach to Technician Recruitment State Apprenticeship Program Bolsters Birkey’s Recruitment Efforts