AN estimated 1,500 vacancies has led to a claim of a crisis in recruitment of driver/operators of plant machinery in Ireland.
It’s prompted a call by one industry leader to issue an appeal for women, retirees and people who want to upskill to consider the sector as a new or even a second career to sustain the building economy.
With the economic climate improving and the country approaching ‘full employment’, women, in particular, are being asked to consider a career in driving and operating construction machinery as it is a very skilled job with very good wages as well as the fact that it’s a very transferable skillset once learned.
In order to entice would be driver-operators into the industry a training company in Dunshaughlin, Co Meath is in the process of setting up a training course on their specialist state of the art digger simulator and the tutors estimate that it only takes one week’s intensive training to have a decent level of proficiency to operate a big digger.
The simulator is the only one of its kind in Ireland and will be at the largest construction machinery show in Ireland later this month in Punchestown and wannabe digger drivers are urged to go to the event to see if they’d like to continue on with training and meet with machinery contractors present.
Brian Coogan of CQMS (Construction and Quarry Machinery Show) said:
‘We realise that our industry obviously hasn’t been of appeal to women to join nor have they been clamouring to get in and yes there is a massive gender difference obviously as a result but this shouldn’t be the case as its already well known that women are more diligent, learn quicker, care more on doing a good job.’
He added: ‘What is of massive importance is the fact women are not as careless with tools and machinery as men. They are more reliable time keepers, never show up to work with hangovers, don’t mess about as much as men and do the job just as good. This has been borne out in the last 5-10 years in places like the Western Australian mines where the owners couldn’t get enough men nor keep enough men in the job due to their tardiness and ‘going on the beer’ and so have happily and successfully filled machinery roles with women.’
CQMS takes place on June 21st and 22nd in Punchestown Racecourse.This demonstrative show will bring together the industry leaders in construction and quarrying with a showcase of €70m worth of new machinery on offer.