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Attracting Young Persons into the Construction Plant Sector

There are many construction plant operatives approaching retirement from their jobs, and the younger generations will be the ones to compose the workforce of the future in the construction plant sector.

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Many of our younger generations lack interest in the construction sector. It is often seen as unattractive, and construction companies have a hard time enticing young people at all levels. However, this is not the case for Jack Crabtree.

When it comes to persuading young people, companies must learn how to approach them. Giving them clear guidance on working conditions, potential earnings, and future opportunities is an excellent way to convince young people why construction could be the right industry for them.

Jack Crabtree born in “2006” has always been interested in plant and equipment, mending his toy diggers from the age of three, dressing in JCB clothing at every opportunity and pestering his parents for a tour of JCB. In 2020, Jack was at a family party where he met Tracey Milnes, Tracey owns and manages a CPCS plant training centre “Big Yellow Plant Training”. Despite his young age, Tracey offered Jack the chance to undertake Excavator 360 training at her CPCS Test Centre. Jack passed his HS&E Test, and Big Yellow Plant Training undertook all formal Risk Assessments to allow Jack to undertake his practical training and CPCS Testing.

In February 2020 Jack passed his Excavator Above 10t (A59) and Lifting Operations (A59c) Technical Tests, theory & Practical.


In April 2021, Jack had the opportunity to go back to Big Yellow Plant Training to showcase the skills he had learnt. Carl Hassell, Group Director at NOCN Job-Cards (CPCS), went to find out more. “I was very impressed in Jack’s capabilities and finesse with machine control.” Jack was tasked with digging to line and level, and in just under two hours Jack had finished.


Jack chose CPCS as his dad, Jamie Crabtree, is the Workshop Manager for “Moortown Group” (a CPA member) and said “CPCS is the best industry standard and a scheme that has been developed by industry for industry”.


Tracey Milnes from BIG Yellow said “it was an absolute pleasure to train and test Jack, his Tester Ben Berriman was amazed at Jacks attitude and ability in operating such large equipment at such a young age. With determination and the right guidance young people can achieve!”


Over the past 10 years, the construction sector has gone from strength to strength and is cleaner, more diverse, greener, and safer, with great potential for long careers. The average construction worker in the UK earns £33,500 and can be even higher for those with multi-skills and additional training.

The Construction sector needs to improve the information for schools “Career Advisers” regarding the great prospects of a career in construction can provide, including the potential earnings, smart technologies, many varied career paths, apprenticeship availability and more.

Employers, regardless of whether they pay the Apprenticeship Levy, need to utilise the available placements and take on apprentices. Plant related options currently available are Plant Mechanic, Plant Technician, Lifting Technician, Plant Operative, Hire Controller and Piling Attendant.

Filling places will create more interest from training providers, and more places and cohorts will be made available. Let us help industry address the skills shortage and bring in some young blood.

Start Recruiting Apprentices at www.instituteforapprenticeships.org. and find more about CPCS here: https://www.nocnjobcards.org/CPCS/


The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS), part of NOCN Job Cards is the leading skills certification scheme for plant within the UK construction industry. NOCN Job Cards provide proof that individuals have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out. CPCS was launched in 2003 and has since issued over 300,000 cards across 60 categories of plant and related occupations, the CPCS Scheme is developed by industry for the industry.

NOCN Job Cards is part of NOCN Group one of the UK’s leading educational charities, whose core aims are to help learners reach their potential and organisations thrive. The group includes business units specialising in regulated UK and international qualifications, End Point Assessment, Access to Higher Education, assured short courses, SMART job cards, assessment services, consultancy, and research.
Press contact: marketing@nocn.org.uk