“They can then move onto a more formal and nationally recognised course (such as the L2 NVQ in Pavement Marking Mobile) with greater confidence in their abilities, and the knowledge that machine operation is a good fit for them”.
Road maintenance takes collaboration and teamwork, and we employ people in a variety of roles here at Hi-Way Services. However, there can be no doubt that some of the most enjoyable – and most highly qualified – positions we offer are to machine operatives. The more technical nature of the job makes it appealing to many people, and an ideal pathway to progress from a manual role.
Machine operatives would normally have to go through a broad apprenticeship in something like screed road markings, preparing them for a wide range of positions and responsibilities. However, a course like this doesn’t necessarily hone in on machine use, nor does it inform the person taking it about the specific quirks and attributes of the machines they’re likely to be using.
As a result, we decided to develop our own introductory machine training course in house. The syllabus was constructed by two of our contract managers, alongside one of our machine charge hands. A notice was put up to gauge interest, and a certificate was produced to formalise the course, and give the applicants something to work towards.
Happily, interest was strong from the outset, and our new training course now boasts six members from the Hi-Way Services team. Training on a Saturday, they’ve now made it more than halfway through the course, starting with the fundamentals of starting and maintaining a machine, and then learning how to operate it. The final part of the course will be a practical test in a controlled, on-site environment, teaching each candidate how to fill both the operating and steering roles.
While applicants who complete the course aren’t necessarily ready to hit the road, the idea is to give them a good grounding in machine operation. They can then move onto a more formal and nationally recognised course (such as the L2 NVQ in Pavement Marking Mobile) with greater confidence in their abilities, and the knowledge that machine operation is a good fit for them.
We’re delighted with the initial interest in the course, and the progress that’s being made by our candidates so far. The reaction has been such that we’re planning on running the course twice each year, and will be looking to develop it outwards – maybe even extending the concept to other topics.