Cullen teenager becomes youngest CPCS Red Card recipient

A 13-year-old digger enthusiast from Cullen has become the youngest person to gain a Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) Red Card.

Jamie Currie is now qualified to operate diggers after passing the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test, followed by theory and practical tests. For the practical test, Jamie had to name parts of the machine, drive the digger through chicanes, then over rough ground and 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 machine back to the yard and perform shutdown procedures, before having a debrief with the examiner.

He scored an impressive 206 points out of a possible 215 with MG Training at a test centre in Scotland’s central belt, deliberately chosen because the examiners would have no prior knowledge of Jamie or his father James Currie, director of Currie Contractors Cullen and NPORS instructor at Heavy Plant Training Ltd.

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 card holder 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.

Despite this, Jamie was keen on gaining a qualification to prove to others, as well as to challenge himself, that he was able to drive a digger just as well as an adult.

He 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. 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. James explained, “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!”

James decided to encourage Jamie’s enthusiasm and set him a series of challenges, this time using a Bobcat for which James bought a number of attachments including a Rototilt R1. After mastering challenges, which included picking up old paint pots and placing them inside a container, Jamie made an appearance at the Keith Show.

Callum Mackintosh, VP of the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA), commented, “Congratulations, Jamie! 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.”