It’s no secret that there’s a shortfall in construction and engineering skills and to fill these jobs girls need to be more involved. You don’t often see female heavy plant operators in the UK construction industry but are things changing? Amy Metcalfe has been out to meet ladies already making waves in the industry…
Emma Watts has been involved in her Uncle Chris Lee’s business Anglian Excavations Ltd from a young age. She began by helping in the workshop from the age of 14 and from there started learning to drive the company’s machines. While attending college Emma gained her CPCS card and she then began working for Anglian Excavations. Emma started by driving a 6 tonne dump truck before moving onto a Volvo A30C and then into the Volvo A30G. Emma has also recently passed her HGV class 2 and hopes to do training soon that will allow her to drive an articulated lorry. Emma comments: “It’s so nice being in the A30G compared to the A30C, it’s great to drive. I really enjoy driving the bigger machines and am looking forward to learning how to operate other machines such as excavators and wheel loaders.”
Anglian Excavations are an earthmoving and groundworks company based near Bury St Edmunds who also offer plant hire services. Chris Lee comments: “In this industry you see a lot of people who drive machines just for the money. Emma though really enjoys her work, loves driving machines and has a passion for what she does.”
Emma will soon be driving one of the company lorries but at the moment is based in Cavenham working in the Allen Newport sand and gravel quarry where she is driving the Volvo A30G. Richard Stevens, owner of the site kindly allowed us access to take pictures of Emma at work. This quarry supplies sand, gravel and also keeps stock of other aggregates not quarried locally.
Emma and her A30G are working alongside another A30G, A30C and an EC360C excavator. The excavator, operated by Stuart Matthews is busy loading the dump trucks with sand which is then transported to the other side of the quarry for processing.
Emma’s willingness to increase her knowledge of operating other machines and lorries will give her greater versatility across the family business as well as giving her the ability to work across a wide range of machines in a variety of applications. It’s clear that Emma has a passion for what she does and I’m sure she’ll continue to build knowledge over the years and develop a successful career.