Minister Poots launches NI’s first tractor driving simulators

Date published: 13 February 2020

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA got into the driving seat today at CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus when he officially launched Northern Ireland’s first ever tractor driving simulators.

The two new simulators represent an investment of £100,000 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and aim to improve safety both on and off the road, as well as enhance skills and build confidence in a real, working environment.
In addition to trying out one of the simulators, Mr Poots, alongside members of the Farm Safety Partnership, witnessed how CAFRE students handled various driving situations and heard their positive views on the high-tech equipment.

Minister Poots said: “This is an excellent investment and a first for a college in Northern Ireland. Improving safety on our farms is paramount and the training of tractor and machinery operatives is vitally important. 
“It is amazing how realistic these driving simulators are and I am positive that even experienced operatives will be able to test their existing skills and learn new techniques. 

“The students I met this morning demonstrated a high level of ability in manoeuvring through various situations and I’ve no doubt this high-tech equipment will greatly enhance the excellent training already provided by CAFRE.” 

The tractor driving simulators will provide learners, particularly those with limited prior experience, with the opportunity to operate tractors, material handlers and other agricultural machinery in a simulated, controlled and safe environment. Learners can receive reports on their driving techniques and when the two simulators are used in tandem, can practice many of the machinery operations on farms.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption - Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA takes the wheel of one of CAFRE's new tractor driving simulators at Greenmount Campus watched by Level 3 Land-based Engineering student Christopher Robinson. The £100,000 investment in two simulators will allow students to learn in a safe environment and are the first to be used in an NI college. 
  2. Training in the safe operation of tractors and machinery is a key component of the education and training courses provided at CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus.
  3. Each simulator cost £54,000 and CAFRE plans to install additional simulators and create a purpose built training suite. At present students can learn to drive three types of vehicle via the simulators. These are tractors, telehandlers and combine harvesters.
  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.
  5. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.

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