Plant body welcomes more than 1,000 visitors during ScotPlant

Plant body welcomes more than 1,000 visitors during ScotPlant

After such a busy weekend, which saw 6,600 visitors to ScotPlant, the team from the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) reflect on the event and share some highlights on what remains the most significant event for the plant industry in Scotland.

Focus on the future of the industry

Acknowledging the challenge of attracting young people into the industry, the SPOA has invested heavily over the past few years to tackle this. The purchase of the Tenstar simulator and the bespoke trailer to enable members to take the simulator to local schools and career fairs is perhaps the most significant of these.

The simulator was by far and away the most popular feature on the SPOA stand with adults and children all keen to try it. This was great to see and even better was the fact that a significant number of members made bookings there and then to take the simulator to events with many more asking the team to follow up after ScotPlant.

The SPOA has also invested a lot of time over the last few years to build a strong relationship with CITB and invest in plant operator, plant mechanic and crane operator apprenticeships. The fact that the CITB joined the SPOA on the stand at ScotPlant to engage with employers about apprenticeships and funding opportunities is testament to that relationship. Many employers, members and non-members, took advantage of the opportunity to speak to Barry Dawson, CITB Engagement Manager, and his colleagues, about apprenticeships.

Former winners of the SPOA Apprentice of the Year Awards, Deklyn Feather and Andrew Manson, were also at ScotPlant all weekend and did a brilliant job of answering questions from those considering an apprenticeship.

Plant body welcomes more than 1,000 visitors during ScotPlant

Plant and fuel theft prevention

ScotPlant marked almost a full year since the SPOA announced its role in the Scottish Partnership Against Acquisitive Crime (SPAACE) and ScotPlant was a fitting venue to end the tour of the ‘Machine on a Mission’ - the Police Scotland liveried JCB 3CX which has visited every corner of Scotland to help raise awareness of this important issue that affects so many members. The JCB 3CX has now been retired and returned to Scot JCB for sale.

Having Graham Scott and Stuart Ward from Police Scotland join the stand at ScotPlant was very helpful and they were able to engage with visitors and listen to many personal experiences of plant and fuel theft. They gave advice on theft prevention methods and encouraged plant owners to sign up to Construction Watch.

This collaboration with SPAACE will continue and plans are already underway for the next 12 months which will likely kick off with a presence at the Royal Highland Show later this year.

Scottish Plant Operator Challenge Qualifier

Almost 100 operators took to the sticks of the Kobelco SK75 for our ‘On the Hook’ challenge, sponsored by SPOA member Molson Equipment, over the weekend. There was a real mix of people from 16 years old right the way through to senior operators, males and females, from all over Scotland from as far as Islay, Arran, Shetland and Orkney, as well as the mainland.

Congratulations to Leigh Andrews and Bart Jeziorski for scoring the best times after penalties on Friday and Saturday respectively. The top 40 operators from the Qualifier have been identified and will go through to compete in the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge final to be held on 27th July at Errol Airfield alongside the Morris Leslie working plant weekend.

Plant body welcomes more than 1,000 visitors during ScotPlant

Women in Plant

The SPOA was pleased to see so many women come along to meet the team at ScotPlant. There were plenty of familiar faces and new ones, and lots of enquiries about getting involved and joining forthcoming events and activities that are planned.

Summing up ScotPlant

In summing up ScotPlant, Callum Mackintosh, Immediate Past President of the SPOA, said: “This show is possibly the best ScotPlant to date, certainly for the SPOA but I also believe for the industry. Credit must go to the organisers, in particular Mark Griston and Erin McBride, who, with their colleagues, organised an excellent ScotPlant and were brilliant to work with.

“The highlight for me was having past presidents Jim Anderson and Gordon Bow visit the stand and share their observations about the transformation of the Association over the last few years and how the SPOA’s presence at ScotPlant reflected that.

“Our ambition since 2021 has been to be at the heart of the plant community in Scotland. ScotPlant provides a platform to promote all the great initiatives and progress the Association is making thanks to its Executive Committee, working groups and stakeholders.

“We have spent considerable time ensuring all members not only get value for money but also the trade body they deserve. The SPOA is the only organisation in Scotland representing the plant sector in its entirety. There is no better illustration of that than visitors proactively asking to join the SPOA at ScotPlant.

“This successful ScotPlant was down to a team effort and a lot of planning. Special thanks goes to all those who represented the Association on the stand; Stuart Gardner, Mark Anderson, James Currie, David Jarvie, Gail McEwen and the Women in Plant working group. We were grateful that Barry Dawson and the team from the CITB gave up their time to join us, as well as our winning apprentices Andrew Manson and Deklyn Feather. Thanks to Stuart Ward and Graeme Scott from Police Scotland who once again took time to meet with members.

“The fact that the SPOA stand was an experience and not just any exhibition stand was down to our amazing suppliers from Over Hot Coals, who served hundreds of burgers; Abbie from Flat Flat White, who kept us going with plenty of coffees; and Archie Mcfarlane and the band who created a great vibe.

“Thanks to Jamie and Jay Currie and William Frame for helping dismantle the stand as the sun set on a fantastic ScotPlant.”

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