Simulator to inspire young people to enter and upskill plant industry hits the road

Simulator to inspire young people to enter and upskill plant industry hits the road

James Currie

The Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) has invested £100,000 in its members with a Tenstar simulator and bespoke trailer.

This state-of-the-art training equipment is designed to make it easy for SPOA members to visit schools, businesses and colleges across Scotland to encourage young people into the industry or to upskill existing plant operators.

The trailer and simulator, which will be prominent features on the SPOA stand at this month’s ScotPlant 2024, have already been visiting schools and a construction site in the north of Scotland.

James Currie, executive committee member of the SPOA and passionate advocate for encouraging young people into the plant industry, said: “Having worked in the plant industry all my life, I know that it offers a rewarding and well-paid career. But I also know that, unless the industry is proactive in showcasing the opportunities to young people, we will miss out on attracting the talent that I know exists.

Simulator to inspire young people to enter and upskill plant industry hits the road

“As a member of the SPOA, I obviously run my own plant business and my sons have both shown a clear interest in the industry from an early age. My eldest son is a plant operator and loves every minute of it. But there are lots of young people out there, without that family connection to the industry, who simply aren’t aware of plant operating or any of the other careers the industry offers. I’m determined to change that, and thanks to this investment, members like myself can literally take the simulator on the road and give young people the chance to try out plant operating in a safe and controlled environment and let them speak to people from the industry who can give advice on how get a career in plant.”

James Currie has already taken the trailer and the simulator to Keith Grammar School and Fordyce Primary School, where he got a warm reception, with students at Keith Grammar School queuing to have a go before the start of the school day. Over 50 pupils engaged with the simulator over both events.

The simulator can also be used to upskill existing plant operators, so James took the training equipment to one of the biggest construction and energy projects at the moment, Moray West Substation which links to Blackhillock Substation and Moray West Offshore Wind Farm with around 30km of underground cable works ongoing. James invited various contractors to come to the substation to see the simulator with the Trimble GPS setup and also have a go first hand.

James Currie added: “We were overwhelmed by the positive feedback we received from the contractors, some of whom are already using 3D machine control but have been self-taught and only know the basics. They are now looking to get booked onto one of the regular courses that the SPOA runs with its partners at Setting Out for Construction so they can use 3D machine control to its true potential. Overall, taking the simulator out on the road thanks to the new trailer was a great success and I hope that it inspires other SPOA members to use this fantastic asset.”

Come along to the SPOA stand at ScotPlant 2024, Avenue C, Stand 13, and try your hand at the simulator.

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