A 13-year-old boy has become the youngest person to gain a Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) red card, qualifying him as a trained operator.
Jamie Currie, from Cullen in northeast Scotland, is now qualified to operate diggers after passing the CITB Health, Safety & Environment test, followed by a theory test, which required him to answer 90 questions from the examiner, and a practical test.
For the practical test, he had to name parts of the machine, drive the digger through chicanes, then over rough ground followed by steep ground. He was also required to dig a manhole to specification, which was later checked with a laser level, dig and reinstate a track to specification, load dumpers and then reinstate the work.
Finally, Jamie was required to drive the digger back to the yard and perform shutdown procedures and have a debrief with the examiner.
He scored 206 points out of a possible 215 with MG Training at a test centre in the central belt, deliberately chosen because the examiners would have no prior knowledge of Jamie or his father James Currie, director of Currie Contractors Cullen and NPORS instructor at Heavy Plant Training Ltd.
There is no age requirement for CPCS membership although there are laws and company policies regarding the use of plant and machinery. So although Jamie has passed his CPCS ticket, he will be unable to use his new qualification on commercial sites until he is a little older.
Jamie Currie said: “I’m really happy and proud to have my CPCS Red Card. I’ve always loved diggers, so I hope this is my first step to a career in the plant industry. When I’m 16, I hope to do a NVQ in digger driving and upgrade my Red Card to a Blue Card, before building my own business. And, of course, I want to own my very own digger, specifically a Doosan 18 tonner with Tiltrotator.”
Jamie’s proud father James explained the origins of his son’s enthusiasm: “When Jamie was just six we built a new house and for that we bought a 1.5-tonne Hanix to move top soil and lay the drains. Jamie was hooked. He insisted on helping me operate the Hanix. We took a family holiday in County Durham and paid a visit to Diggerland where he had an absolute blast.
“After finding out that you can sit the CITB Health, Safety & Environment test after the age of 12, he bought the revision book and downloaded the app and revised at weekends and weekdays after school. He was determined to pass and has also gained a qualification for ‘Emergency at Work First Aid plus Forestry’. Despite the fact that I do plant training myself, Jamie was determined to gain the Red Card on his own merit.”
Callum Mackintosh, vice president of the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) said: “I’ve been lucky enough to see Jamie’s digger driving skills and the talent he shows is comparable to – if not better than – some adult operators. It’s great to know that we have this talent coming into the industry and I’m sure that Jamie has a bright future ahead of him.”