Recently at ITS, we were delighted to welcome
17-year-old Megan Halliday onto our 360 Excavator Digger Operator course. Whilst we’ve trained male candidates as young as 16 in the past, Megan is the youngest female participant to successfully complete this course with ITS, and only the second female in our 20+ year history to have completed a competency test on a machine.
It has been great for us as a company to have such a spirited young lady sharing our enthusiasm for operative machinery. Megan comes from a farming background and is very passionate about developing a career for herself in agricultural contracting or the construction sector.
Megan has an interest in all things plant and machinery-based and credits her family members as being the inspiration for her future career plans. With her can-do attitude, we hope she can encourage others who have been apprehensive to take on a new skill, to just go for it. In her own words, “I’d totally recommend it and tell people to jump at the opportunity”.
Megan feels that obtaining her excavator license will prove beneficial in whatever career path she ends up taking. The same can be said for all of the courses at ITS, whether the goal is to obtain an accreditation for personal achievement, or if you specifically need it for your occupation and to branch out in your line of work.
What did Megan have to say about her experience at ITS?
“When I was informed that I was the youngest and the only female participant on the course I was slightly worried. But I thought that there is no harm in trying something new and getting on with it. Everyone was very encouraging and supportive of me, which made learning so much easier. It was great to know that I could have an impact on other girls that didn’t want to try it, as it is male dominated. The course itself was user-friendly with everything easily laid out. The facilities down at ITS are brilliant”.
Funding for Training Courses & The PROSPER+ Programme
Megan was referred to ITS for training on the 360 Excavator Digger Operator course by Southern Regional College’s Community Development team, through their PROSPER+ programme. This was developed in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), local communities and Southern Regional College to empower and encourage participation in education, address issues around social deprivation, tackle unemployment and rural isolation.
The focus of this programme was on two of the target groups identified in the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework, namely the unemployed and those on a low income. Its aim was to remove barriers to education and deliver a training programme to better equip individuals with skills leading to industry-recognised qualifications, in an attempt to address the issues of low skills and no qualifications.
Since the programme commenced in 2018, SRC has provided training to over 300 rural residents in areas such as ICT, security, haulage, hair, and beauty and helped 11 participants to gain full-time employment as a result of participation and completion of qualifications.
Women in Operative Roles
There has been a large push to get more women involved in the construction business, sadly according to GoConstruct only 14% of women are involved in the industry. This is set to rise with gender stereotypes being diminished as more women are being encouraged to explore jobs in this field. Our advice is if a role sounds like it would be a great fit for you, don’t be afraid to reach out to the employer to see what your next steps could be. It is important to ensure women and girls are aware of the opportunities available to them from an early age, therefore it was particularly exciting for us to hear of Megan’s ambitions.
ITS 360-Excavator Training Course
The 360-excavator training course is relevant to those using diggers and excavators above 10 tonnes in construction operations. This course is suitable for people with limited or no experience. They will undertake a 9-day training course and complete a technical test on the last day for their NPORS plant card. NPORS is one of the UK’s leading accreditation and registration bodies. Candidates can also opt to do the CSR or CPCS technical test in place of NPORS.
The digger and excavator training course assesses the operator’s competency in the following areas:
• Basic understanding of the industry, the dangers of working in the industry and their responsibilities as a plant operator.
• Working knowledge of the manufacturer’s handbook.
• Their ability to locate and identify the major components of the machine and explain their functions.
• Conduct all pre-operational checks in accordance with manufacturers and legislative requirements.
• Safely mount and dismount the machine.
• Start and stop the engine and safely manoeuvre off and stop safely.
• Configure the machine for travel and manoeuvre safely across varying terrain in open and confined areas.
• Carry out excavating tasks.
• Load material onto transporting vehicles.
• Reinstate excavation, grade, and level ground.
• Fit and remove attachments.
• Carry out all end of shift and shut down procedures.
If you would like more information visit ITS Plant & Machinery Training | ITS Health & Safety Training Northern Ireland (industrytrainingservices.com) or get in touch with ITS on 028 3839 8700.