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GPS Technology, it's not the future. It's now

Gez Bonner, National Training Manager of L Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage Ltd, spoke with CITB about the training they offer Plant Operators to master GPS technology on construction sites and the partnership with CITB that made it possible.

Utilising plant GPS technology is not only a great tool to help businesses be more productive and efficient, but also a requirement for large scale infrastructure projects.

How does it work? GPS technology and Machine Control systems are used to accurately position earthworks machinery. GPS tracking devices interact with satellites, which allow them to mark locations on construction sites more accurately.

Although this saves time and reduces expenses, not all businesses have Plant Operators with the right skills to use GPS technology.

“The need for developing GPs training was a recurrent issue for us. Colleagues used to say it’s the future, but in reality, it’s now! GPS technology has become a requirement across the construction industry in the UK. For instance, the A14 from Cambridge to Huntingdon - a £1.5bn project that is Highways England’s biggest scheme, or the High Speed 2 development requires operators skilled in GPS Machine Control technology”, says Gez Bonner.

Back in February 2018, Lynch Training Division decided to open a bespoke training centre in Cambridge, to train their operators in the use of GPS technology. The centre started small, with only one machine. Today, the centre has two machines, two classrooms, lounge area, revision area, and a canteen. It has come a long way: over a hundred operators have now received training at the centre.

In August 2021, Lynch received £15,000 via CITB’s Medium Company Skills and Training Fund, to expand the centre and its training capacity. Gez says the application process was simple and straightforward, and they will be submitting a new application for the Skills and Training Fund in August 2022.

He said: “The partnership with CITB made it possible. We received so much support from Sarah Peace (CITB Engagement Advisor Buckinghamshire) and Elizabeth Steel (CITB Customer Engagement Manager South East Central Region). CITB made the process very simple, and communication is always flowing between us. Some businesses across the industry might put a barrier between them and CITB but I always say, it’s not us and them, it’s us together. Training is not a profit, but value to the whole construction industry”

A total of 38 participants took part in the training programme. Benefits included:

  • 46% fewer project hours
  • 34% fewer equipment hours
  • 37% less fuel consumed
  • 31% fewer total man hours

For more information on CITB’s Skills and Training Fund please click here.

Snapshot

Company: L Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage Ltd.

Sector: Self-Drive Plant Hire, Haulage and Transport Services to a variety of sectors within construction.

Challenge: To access funding to expand their training centre in Cambridge and train operators in GPS technology.

Solution: CITB advisors Sarah Peace and Elizabeth Steel support L Lynch Plant Hire in their funding application, which was successful.

Impact: Thanks to having trained operators in GPS technology, L Lynch has seen fewer project, equipment and man hours and less fuel consumed.