Job profile: What’s it like to be a tractor sales instructor?

There are a wide range of jobs in the agricultural machinery sector and they don’t all mean having to be handy with a wrench, getting covered in diesel and wearing overalls. 

If you’re looking for a job that combines an interest in machinery and more office-based skills then working for a manufacturer in the product sales area may be perfect for you.

Farmers Weekly speaks to an instructor and promotion specialist for a major farm machinery manufacturer to find out what his job entails.

Craig Erskine

Craig Erskine

Name Craig Erskine

Job title Instructor and promotion specialist

Company John Deere

Age 28

Sum up your job in a sentence or two

I am responsible for tractor sales training and provide support for other product training.

I train dealer sales staff from throughout the UK and Ireland. I also have responsibilities at all John Deere shows and events.

See also: Job Profile; What’s it like to be a farm machinery technician

What sort of things does this involve day-to-day? 

No two days are the same. I spend a lot of time planning events such as product launches, shows or training events.

This could be configuring and ordering new machines or visiting a field site prior to an event.

Set-up and preparation for shows is a big part of my role at certain times of the year, although it is a real team effort.

Lamma is our biggest show and takes roughly a month of preparation before we even arrive at the showground.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the variety and am lucky that I get to travel. Talking to farmers and getting their feedback on our products is another good part of my job.

By doing this I can then let the factories know what developments customers would like to see in the future.

What’s the downside? 

There aren’t many downsides. However, working on long spreadsheets is not my favourite thing.

What percentage of your job is office-based? 

Sometimes I can be out of the office and not at my desk for weeks, but in general I would say that I would be 50/50 in the office and out at events/shows.

What skills and qualifications are essential to do the job? 

You have to be able to plan as some events we are planning six months or more in advance. You also need to be able organise and manage people as it is not possible to do everything yourself.

Working for a global company you also need to be able to appreciate other cultures, so that ultimately you can reach your end goal.

What experience did you have before starting? 

I did a placement with John Deere as a student at Harper Adams and then started as a sales demonstrations instructor in our turf division.

I also had a period at our European office in Mannheim, Germany, in our sales support centre.

What other careers did you consider?


What tips/advice would you give to someone wanting a similar role?

Experience in the industry is always helpful – either working at a dealership, on the family farm or for a contracting business. Non-agricultural experience that is related to the specific job role is also beneficial.

I previously ran a mountain bike race series, so this experience proved helpful when I started organising shows.

Where would you see yourself in five years’ time? 

I have a number of options. I could go on to be a territory manager, where I would be responsible for a group of dealers within the UK.

There are also opportunities to work in Europe, where I could be responsible for a certain product or product line.

Give us an idea of the salary a new-starter might expect

The starting salary for a management trainee is £23,460.

Finish this sentence: A career in agriculture…

…Is a solid career as the world needs to eat, and with growing populations, a greater demand is being put on agricultural output.


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