Gordon Durno from Moray crowned UK Plant Operator of the Year

Gordon Durno, aged 56 from Moray, has been crowned UK Plant Operator of the Year following a national competition which took place at the CITB National Construction College in Bircham Newton, Norfolk, on 30th September.

Gordon, who works for Currie Contractors in Moray, demonstrated his skills honed over a lifetime in the industry and faced tough competition with 68 plant operators battling it out to be crowned UK Plant Operator of the Year.

Gordon, who won the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge in July, picked up a cheque for £10,000 as well as a new Leica laser level and a bag full of merchandise from the event sponsors.

To gain a place in the final, competitors were required to choose and participate in any four of nine challenges with the winner of each challenge going through to the final. The nine finalists then went head-to-head on two challenges.

One of the challenges at the UK Plant Operator of the Year.jpg

One of the challenges.

Gordon secured his place in the final by winning the JCB 3CX challenge – a closely fought contest between Gordon and fellow Scot, Scott Hamilton from Inverness, who came second overall in the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge earlier in the year.

William Frame and Gordon Durno.jpgWilliam Frame and Gordon Durno

The final challenges, which saw Gordon crowned overall winner, were:

  • A lifting challenge on a Takeuchi TB2150 where a concrete weight needed to be placed onto four numbered round pads in the fastest time.
  • A loading challenge where the operator had to load 15 full buckets into a Doosan DA30 ADT with a Liugong 915. This was a test of the time and muck shifting skills of the operators.

Speaking about his win, Gordon said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to be crowned UK Plant Operator of the Year! It was a real test of my skills, and I was pleased to be representing Scotland alongside some very fine competitors including Jamie Currie, aged 16, who I have watched develop over the years with great pride. I am looking forward to spending my prize money on a well-deserved holiday with my wife.”

It was a strong performance for Scotland with William Frame from Newhouse coming third overall and placing first in the ‘making the grade’ challenge. William also received a Leica laser level and goody bag. 

Callum Mackintosh, Immediate Past President of the Scottish Plant Operators Association, added: “What a result! This was a brilliant day for Scotland at UK Plant Operator of the Year. Following on from the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge earlier this year, it was a proud moment to see our operators performing so well. We met up with Scottish apprentices from the college during the event and I know they were inspired to see Gordon crowned the winner and William finish in third place. I'd like to thank the Plant Department at the National Construction College and the wider CITB team who supported this event. It has put the college deservedly back on the map as a beacon of excellence in plant training."

William Frame, Callum Mackintosh, Gordon Durno .jpg

William Frame, Callum Mackintosh and Gordon Durno.

Chris Blake, Curriculum Manager, Plant department at the CITB, was thrilled with the expertise demonstrated by the plant operators competing: “What a great event! We were delighted to see so many people come along to watch some very talented plant operators fight it out to be crowned UK Plant Operator of the Year. Congratulations to Gordon – a true veteran and expert in his field.”


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