UK Plant Operator of the Year statement

The Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) and sponsors of the Scottish heat of the UK Plant Operator of the Year 2023 competition are incredibly disappointed to learn of the sudden cancellation of the event just last week. However, our commitment stands and the SPOA, without any support or funding from the previous organisers, will be hosting the Scottish competition, now known as the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge, as planned at Errol Airfield on Saturday 22nd July.

To date, around 40 skilled plant operators have signed up to compete from as far afield as Shetland. There is still time to enter with the closing date set for 20th July at 5pm.

The SPOA is calling on members to spread the word and to encourage others to enter the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge.

The association is grateful to Morris Leslie of Morris Leslie Plant Hire for kindly offering to host the event, free of charge, at his Errol Airfield site on the same day as his famous Classic Plant & Tractor Working Weekend. We continue to be grateful to Morris Leslie Plant Hire, Blackwood Plant Hire, Balgownie, JCB and Kubota for supporting the SPOA to take over the organisation of the event, following its cancellation by the organiser.

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The SPOA would like to reassure all entrants and everyone involved that the SPOA will do everything in its power to make the event a success.

The Scottish Plant Operator Challenge will find and showcase the talented operators that Scotland is well known for.

Competitors will complete six challenges to test skill, speed, safety, adaptability, approach, flair and general operator basics:

  1. Mini Excavator – Sponsored by Kubota, this challenge will test the operator’s attention to detail, skill and speed.
  2. Mini Excavator - Sponsored by Balgownie, this challenge will test the operator’s approach and push them to think ahead.
  3. Backhoe Loader – Sponsored by JCB, operators will use both ends of the iconic 3CX to navigate a challenging course, the right approach will pay dividends.
  4. 14t Excavator – Sponsored by Blackwood Plant Hire, operator’s patience and skill will be tested to the limit.
  5. 20t Excavator – Sponsored by Morris Leslie, operators will be challenged to make the grade!
  6. Loading the Truck – Sponsored by Tenstar, operators will be challenged to load a truck with material safely and evenly distributed in as fast a time as possible.

For further information on the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge and to enter the competition, please visit:

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