Apprentices recognised by the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) at 70th annual dinner

Plant mechanic apprentice Callum McIntyre and plant operator apprentice Eleanor Macmillan-Currie were awarded ‘Apprentice of the Year 2021/2022’ in their respective fields at the 70th annual dinner of the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA), held in Glasgow on April 7th.

The awards, co-sponsored by Finning UK & Ireland (the world’s largest dealer of Cat® machines, engines, equipment, and power solutions) and CITB recognise the achievements of Callum and Eleanor as they progress through their CITB apprenticeships. The SPOA plans to make the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awards a permanent feature at its annual dinner.
Barry Dawson, Customer Engagement Manager for Scotland at the CITB, selected Callum and Eleanor not only because of the skills and aptitude that they have shown during their apprenticeships, but also because of their attitude and approach to learning, and their career ambitions.

Speaking about the apprentices, Barry said: “The 2021/2022 award winners Callum and Eleanor were nominated by their respective NCC instructors as they are absolutely delighted with how they have progressed over the course of their apprenticeships and have tremendous confidence in their abilities. These awards are testament to the hard work, commitment and determination of both apprentices and are thoroughly deserved.”

As well as the recognition, a complete surprise on the night, Callum and Eleanor were also given a fantastic package provided by Finning. The package, which the apprentices will enjoy later in the year, includes a full factory tour of the Caterpillar manufacturing facility for articulated dump trucks in Peterlee, where they will see the complete production line from sheet steel to a fully operational machine; the opportunity to drive the machines; and an overnight stay in luxury accommodation with an evening dinner with Finning representatives and the President of the SPOA.

Gilly Butler, Product Support Sales Manager – North at Finning, was honoured to present Callum and Eleanor with their awards on the night: “I am privileged to be asked by Callum present these awards on behalf of Finning, as attracting and retaining talent within our industry is the key to the future. The way that the SPOA nurture and develop our young people in this way is wonderful, and I applaud Callum’s passion in driving this forward, together with a culture of greater diversity and inclusivity.

“At Finning we’ve been running an award-winning apprentice academy for a number of years, which mirrors the magnificent work that the SPOA is doing, to invest in creating a talented future workforce to ensure our continued and future success as it becomes increasingly difficult to train and retain young people in our industry.”

For Callum, a plant mechanic apprentice at DM Forklifts in Stonehaven, receiving the award was totally unexpected: “I wasn’t expected to get this award so it is a real honour and I hope it shows other young people out there that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.”

Eleanor, a plant operator apprentice at W&M Currie & Son on the Isle of Islay, was humbled by the award saying: “I am grateful for the nomination and to be presented the award was just fantastic. I would like to thank my dad and my grandpa for inspiring me and pushing me on this journey and all the trainers at CITB without whom this just would not have been possible.”

The Apprentice of the Year awards were one of many highlights at the 70th annual dinner of the SPOA, as President Callum Mackintosh concluded: “This was a special evening for the SPOA. As much as it was about celebrating the 70thanniversary milestone, however, it was also about looking ahead to the future and how apprentices like Callum and Eleanor will help to shape the future of the construction industry. I congratulate them on their achievements and hope they inspire other young people to join the industry.”

SANY UK and Merlo UK were platinum sponsors of the 70th annual dinner and their machinery which included a ROTO 40.18S and the eWorker EW25.5-90 from Merlo UK and the SANY SY16C was on display at the venue on the night, another first for SPOA and something which proved a real talking point.

Speaking about the event, Owen Buttle, National Sales Manager at Merlo UK said: “Congratulations to the SPOA for such a fantastic event on Friday. The opportunity for Merlo to be a platinum sponsor was very much appreciated and has helped us to strengthen our partnership with customers in Scotland. We had a number of comments on how good the eWorker telehandler looked in the room. On a personal level, I and all of my guests thoroughly enjoyed the evening and found the entertainment outstanding. I look forward to continuing our association with the SPOA.”

Brian McGrane, Senior Sales Manager, from SANY UK added: “We were incredibly proud to be one of the platinum sponsors of the Scottish Plant Owners Association dinner in 2022, particularly in its 70th anniversary year. SANY UK is committed to providing industry leading machines and a dedicated parts and service solution to our customers in Scotland and across the UK and this was a fantastic opportunity for us to further establish our brand as well as support the future of the construction and plant hire industry. Well done to the SPOA on a thoroughly enjoyable event.”