When Amy Underwood became a digger driver, she didn’t realise it was going to be so glamorous.
Yet in March, Amy will go from digging ditches in Dalmally to Las Vegas, where she is making a guest appearance at the biggest plant show in the world.
The 28-year-old, who works with her dad in Dalmally, Argyll, posts daily video updates as The Digger Girl to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
She has amassed more than 450,000 followers all over the world.
And now Amy is using her new-found fame to help other women, giving advice and encouragement to young girls considering a career in construction.
Her internet presence has resulted in invites from construction companies to major plant shows in Germany, Norway and England to try their machinery.
Today she becomes the official role model for young apprentices all over Britain. Her year-long partnership with the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) has just been announced.
The Digger Girl: Test driving for Hyundai and encouraging apprenticeships
Hyundai is the latest firm to recruit her as a test driver. She has signed a deal to make videos sharing her views on their diggers.
Amy said: “I’m really lucky to be able to try them out.
“I post selfies and videos of my jobs – before and after. It can be anything and everything, roads, house sites, any construction project.
What dreams are made of😍
“The west coast has beautiful scenery. A lot of people are on building sites in cities, and I’m there on a beautiful hillside.”
Working with CITB, Amy is promoting the value of a construction apprenticeship.
She is especially keen to end stigma of female builders and encourage more girls to get into it.
Amy will be busy During National Apprenticeship Week (February 6-10) and Scottish Apprenticeship Week (March 6-10).
Rejection didn’t stop Digger Girl from discovering career path
She will share her experiences of her career path.
Leaving Oban High School 10 years ago, Amy wanted to train as a mechanic.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t find a job.
Amy said: “I went round all the garages in Oban, but no-one would take me on.
“Someone said I wouldn’t be able to lift tyres. I’m not sure if that is because I’m a girl or because I’m small.
“So I started working with my Dad, John Underwood Plant Hire Contractor. He said I could work with him until something else came along.
“I ended up going to college to get my machine operator’s license and staying with him. I don’t lift tyres, but I do lift drums of diesel and everything else.”
Becoming a role model for girls interested in construction
Amy added: “There are not many females in construction and ground working.
“When I was growing up I had no other females in construction to look up to. There was no one on social media to contact.
“Girls message me asking how to get into the industry. They keep in touch and let me know how they get on.”
A skills shortage in construction means that Amy’s latest project is important.
She said: “It’s not just women. We are trying to get more young people into the industry. There is a lack of young people in general coming through.”
Graham McPhail, director of NCC (National Construction College) at CITB, said: “It is a real pleasure to be working with Amy. As a former apprentice at our prestigious NCC, she has really excelled in her career so far.
“We hope Amy’s online platform will help to attract and engage new audiences.”
The Digger Girl shares social media journey
Digger Girl took off with Amy posting pictures and videos of the diggers she uses at work and progress of her jobs.
She said: “None of my friends were interested in what I was doing at work.”
So in 2019 she created The Digger Girl accounts to share with people with similar interests.
In her day job, Amy usually operates an eight-tonne digger.
But at Hillhead Show in Buxton last summer, she was asked to demonstrate Hyundai’s new 50-tonne excavator.
She said: “It was great. Our biggest machine is 14 tonne. But they are exactly the same on the inside, just on a bigger scale.
“I’m grateful for my followers. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t get to do all the things I do. I would still be a digger operator, but I wouldn’t have all of these opportunities.”
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