Insite with Mike Travers

I recall the day vividly. It was in 2010, two years into the recession, and as I drove back from Edinburgh to Glasgow along the M8 I spied a low-loader transporting a dumper. Nothing unusual there you might think – except it was the only item of construction plant I had seen throughout the entire journey.
That single sighting was a stark reminder of how savagely the recession had bitten and how deep the wound had sunk into a sector that supplies the construction industry with its toolbox. It would be some time before plant started to return to the roads in any numbers and there would be casualties on the journey as a number of long-established suppliers and users became victims of the downturn.
The continually recurring theme of hire rate – this centres on the conundrum in which an owner can make money on a £50,000 piece of kit by renting it out at £25 an hour – continues to exercise the minds of the industry. So too does the problem of how to replace the hundreds of operators who have left the industry in the last five years, never to return.
However, the plant industry is populated by a never say die bunch which believes that good can conquer all. So its trade body in Scotland is to be applauded for an initiative that will continue to improve the skills of the workforce, not just the men at the controls, but throughout a member company’s entire staff.
If and when construction returns to anything that could be construed as normality, there’s one sector at least that means to be prepared. How many others can say the same?