The Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) has hosted its first ever Schools Experience Day to give secondary school pupils an insight into the construction plant sector and the career opportunities available.
The ‘Can U Dig It? Yes U Can’ event, which was hosted at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Fillongley near Coventry, proved to be a resounding success with attendance from over 100 students, teachers and careers advisors from schools in the Coventry, Birmingham, Warwick and surrounding areas. Students had the opportunity to see the latest construction machinery, try out virtual reality simulators and talk to some of the leading players in the plant hire industry about the job opportunities for young people.
Attractions included a 40 tonne Liebherr all-terrain crane provided by Berry Cranes, a 2.5 tonne JCB excavator from A-Plant, an AK46-6000 truck crane from Boecker UK, a JCB 3CX provided by Clee Hill Plant, a tower crane cab simulator and HIAB truck from Falcon Cranes and a MEWP virtual reality simulator provided by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).
Plant operators were on hand to demonstrate the equipment and supporters of the event also brought along current and former apprentices so students could talk to them about their experiences of starting a career in the industry. Companies such as plant tracking specialist AMI Group were also available to talk about other aspects of the industry and Falcon Cranes invited students to take part in a football challenge. The event concluded with a ‘Meet the Professional’ Q&A session where students and teachers had the opportunity to address those working in the industry. The event was hosted in conjunction with Big Bang Near Me on the same day and same venue as Stars of the Future, the CPA’s apprentice awards ceremony.
Kevin Minton, Chief Executive of the CPA said: “Our research has highlighted the difficulties associated with recruiting young people to the construction plant sector and this event is one of the ways in which we are looking to address this. This event presented an exciting opportunity for us to increase knowledge and understanding of the construction plant sector amongst local schools and to help influence future employment and career choices.
“This was an initial taster event and our intention is to explore how we can replicate it, expand it even further and carry out future schools events in conjunction with CPA Members in other parts of the country. Our aim is to become more outward facing and visible to the young people who will become the plant operators, engineers and controllers of the future and occupy other roles in the industry. It made sense to co-ordinate this very first Schools Experience Day with Stars of the Future, which itself is a well-established event for rewarding some of the UK’s most promising Plant Mechanic Apprentices,” he continued.