Meet the Judges – Chris Blake


Chris Blake: CITB Programme Manager

How many years have you worked in the industry?

Chris attended Bircham college in 1984  to complete a 2 week 180 excavator commercial course, some 34 years later and on reflection the course has enabled a career in construction and plant hire with training being the role that has defined a fine career.

> What was your first job (In the industry)

With that early qualification in hand Chris was able to begin work on site in East Anglia operating 180 Excavators.

> How many years at the CITB

17 years’ experience at the CITB, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and know-how to the judging panel. With 5 years as a Plant Instructor followed by a further 4 years as a senior instructor that led to 8 years in the curriculum development plant product services which led to his current position of programme manager in the plant department.

> What is the most satisfying part of your current role

I always have and believe I always will get the biggest pleasure from welcoming a new intake of nervous novice Apprentices, who come from all walks of life into our department.  The real satisfaction comes from watching them flourish into operators, then entering the industry to begin their careers in our industry.

> From your perspective what is the biggest challenge the industry is facing right now.

Operating plant and equipment on site is a great career.  I feel however we should all do more to collectively ‘bang the drum’ to promote the benefits the role of a plant operator. We clearly have a skill shortage, the roles the industry now offers have safer and cleaner environments with vastly improving rates of pay and opportunities.

> What are the benefits you see from campaigns such as the UKPO Operator of the Year.

I welcome this new competition.  The 2021 Plant Operator of the year will raise the profile of operating and demonstrating plant in the industry in addition to demonstrating what a rewarding career it can be for all.