Phil Heyden: Contracts Director O’Brien Plant Hire:
Phil Heyden sat in his first machine as a boy and then learnt to operate, under supervision, from his father, also called Phil Heden who owned and operated machines. Beginning his working life working for his father, Phil moved on to work, as an operator, for the likes of Breheny, operating a range of Akerman excavators. Later Phil moved to Mick George where his career developed and he rose to the position of Contracts Director. Phil joined M O’Brien just over 3 years ago as Contracting Sales Director.
Some 40 years later, Phil retains his tickets and still loves, to this day, to keep his ‘hand in’ on site.
We spoke to Phil and asked about the challenges the industry faces?
Phil said ” I was delighted to be approached by the UK Plant Operator Magazine team, and equally delighted to accept the invitation to be a judge on finals day. We all recognise the challenges the industry faces around the skills gap. This celebration of the role of plant operator will no doubt play its part in raising awareness of the opportunities that a career in today’s construction industry brings”.
Where do you see the next generation of operators coming from?
“I was delighted when my own son, with several ‘A’ levels and a panache for technology, developed an interest, and then qualified as a plant operator…Today he is a great example that the industry can attract a new breed of operators, from either an academic or practical background. There are some fantastic opportunities out there for the next generation, a generation who recognise that machine control, GPS and safety control systems, are, from a technological perspective, revolutionising the role of the Plant Operator and the career it can offer as either an introduction to the industry or as a lifetime opportunity”.