Meet David Jarvie

David Jarvie, Managing Director at Jarvie Plant Limited (JPL), has been a member of the SPOA Executive Committee since 2017.

JPL is a family-run business set up in 1960 as a partnership by David’s grandfather. David’s father ran the company for over 30 years before moving into the position of Chairman in 2021, when David stepped into the role of MD. JPL facilitates the hire and service of plant, site accommodation, temporary power and commercial vehicles throughout Scotland and North West England, with a new depot near Inverness due to open in early 2023.

David’s father, John Jarvie, was the SPOA president between 1996 and 1998. This introduced David to the SPOA and the importance of being a member.

“It’s good to get an objective view of our industry,” explains David. “Being on the committee and sitting amongst peers means we can work together to take on challenges and, hopefully, improve the industry.”

Taking on the challenges

Among the challenges facing the industry are issues with recruitment and retention, as David continues: “Our industry has suffered from a shortage of skilled people since my father was the SPOA president in the 90s. It remains a challenge to get young people into the industry in positions such as mechanics and fitters and encouraging them to commit to an apprenticeship. With higher paying jobs straight out of school, a four-year apprenticeship may not seem as financially attractive. The plant hire industry also lost a lot of workers due to Brexit, with many leaving for higher paid jobs that foreign workers left, and wage inflation has also had an impact.”

Rising costs

As with much of the country, rising costs are hitting the industry hard.

“In general, costs to run the business are higher. Rates for hire are not keeping up with inflation. Machine inflation alone has been tracking at well over 6% for the past few years and looks to be over 10% next year. So, plant owners are shelling out more for equipment at the same market rates, a familiar trend in the plant hire industry for decades, which needs to change especially given the present climate.”


Another important issue for the planet and the plant industry is decarbonisation, particularly following the removal of the construction sector’s entitlement to use red diesel.

“The shift to new technology is much slower than many may realise. The market both on supply and demand side is still not there for electric, solar or hydrogen equipment and is unlikely to change dramatically, at least not in the next few years or so with increased pressure on costs.”

Looking to the future

Being part of the SPOA committee allows David to spot early trends and see where the industry might be going in the future.

“There is still a lot to be done in attracting people to the industry. Apprenticeships and on-the-job training are becoming a more appealing option for a lot of people starting their careers. Rather than going to university, for example, these allow people to bring in an income – something that is especially attractive in a time when the cost of living is so high.

“It’s our job as an association to communicate the opportunities we have in the industry. We need to raise awareness in schools and show young people what the industry has to offer and the range of roles available.

“Being part of the Executive Committee means we work alongside key businesses in the plant hire sector, taking lessons and insights from all areas of the country. Working together we can affect change and make our industry sustainable and attractive for many years to come.”

Any other members of the SPOA interested in joining the Executive Committee can submit an application here.

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