A 13-year-old boy from Moray has become the youngest person in the country to become a trained digger driver.
Jamie Currie, from Cullen, has gained a Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) red card and is now qualified to operate a digger after passing the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) health, safety and environment test.
Following a 90-question theory test, the teenager then had to drive a digger through chicanes and 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 passed with flying colours, scoring 206 points out of a possible 215.
Jamie 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.”
There is no age requirement for CPCS membership, however some legislation or company policies regarding the use of plant or equipment may specify different age limits for a working environment, resulting in the cardholder being prevented from using that plant or equipment. So, although Jamie has passed his CPCS ticket, he will be unable to use his new qualification on commercial sites.
The teen added: “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 interest in diggers stems from an even younger age, inspired by his dad James, who is a director of Currie Contractors.
Mr Currie said: “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.”
Spotting talent in the young Jamie, his dad decided to encourage this further and even went as far as setting him a series of challenges using a Bobcat machine.
Soon a dab hand at these challenges, which included picking up old paint pots by the handle and placing them inside a container, Jamie then made an appearance at the Keith Show, demonstrating his tricks.
Speaking about his new achievement, 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.”
Mr Currie, a fellow member of the SPOA, said he was proud of his son, who also gained a first aid for forestry workers qualification.
He added: “After finding out that you can sit the CITB health, safety and environment test after the age of 12, he bought the revision book and downloaded the app and revised at weekends and weekdays after school.
“Despite the fact that I do plant training myself, Jamie was determined to gain the red card on his own merit.
“I’m sure Jamie has a great future ahead of him and, if he wants, he will definitely be getting a job with us as soon as he is 16.”