A Moray 13-year-old has become the youngest qualified digger driver in the country after negotiating a series of construction challenges.
Jamie Currie, from Cullen, has been obsessed with the machinery and tractors from a young age since his family built a new house.
Now the Buckie High School student can put his interest into action after obtaining his construction plant competence scheme red card – certifying him as a trained operator.
Jamie wowed examiners by negotiating his digger through chicanes, controlling it over steep and rough ground before digging a manhole to a set specification that was inspected with lasers.
The teen then had to dig and reinstate a track before finally driving back to the yard and performing shutdown procedures.
To add to the arduous practical test, Jamie also had to answer 90 questions from examiners to become the youngest qualified digger driver in Scotland.
He said: “I’ve always loved diggers, so I hope this is my first step to a career in the plant industry.
“When I’m 16, I hope to do a NVQ in digger driving and upgrade my red card to a blue card, before building my own business. And, of course, I want to own my very own digger.”
Father James Currie, who is a director of Cullen-based Cullen Contractors, said: “When Jamie was just six we built a new house and for that we bought a 1.5 tonne Hanix to move top soil and lay the drains.
“Jamie was hooked – he insisted on helping me operate the Hanix. We took a family holiday in County Durham and paid a visit to Diggerland where he had an absolute blast.
“After finding out that you can sit the test after the age of 12, he bought the revision book and downloaded the app and revised at weekends and weekdays after school. He was determined to pass.
“Despite the fact that I do plant training myself, Jamie was determined to gain the red card on his own merit. He will definitely be getting a job with us as soon as he is 16.”
Jamie’s test was moved to the Central Belt to ensure he did not gain any potential favouritism from examiners knowing his father.
The youngster’s talents at the controls have also made him a hit at events including the Keith Show – where children and adults have tried their hand at matching his tricks picking up old paint pots.
Despite his new qualification, Jamie will be unable to use his skills on commercial sites until he is older.
Callum Mackintosh, vice-president of the Scottish Plant Owners Association, said: “I’ve been lucky enough to see Jamie’s digger driving skills and the talent he shows is comparable to – if not better than – some adult operators.
“It’s great to know that we have this talent coming into the industry and I’m sure that Jamie has a bright future ahead of him.”