Top skills award pays off for Scott

Scott Simpson was head-hunted by John Mackirdy Haulage after winning Lantra's Learner of the Year title.
Scott Simpson was head-hunted by John Mackirdy Haulage after winning Lantra's Learner of the Year title.

BEING named land-based learner of the year by rural skills council Lantra has paid off in a big way for Bute agricultural engineer Scott Simpson.

Scott, who trained at Oatridge College in west Lothian, has been head-hunted by local firm John Mackirdy Haulage to become the company’s maintenance engineer.

In the few months since he won the Lantra title in March, Scott has also passed the driving test for the company’s 44-tonne articulated lorries and built up his skills working on the Mackirdy fleet.

Scott has been on owner John Mackirdy’s radar for some time, because the company delivers feed and supplies to the Simpson family farm, Ballycaul, where even as a schoolboy, the Rothesay Academy pupil showed a huge interest in trucks.

Mr Mackirdy marked him down as “one for the future” when he read in the local press that Scott had recently passed in LGV test to drive eight-wheeled, 32-tonne trucks, but it was the Lantra win which led directly to an invitation to talk about taking on the job as fleet service engineer.

Scott was working for the agricultural engineers Hamilton Brothers of Bishopton when he won his award. Having completed his modern apprenticeship with the Renfrewshire company in June 2010 he was immediately promoted to field service technician, covering the islands off the west coast, but  the publicity he received did not go unnoticed on Bute.

“His success in the Lantra Awards highlighted Scott’s motivation and skills in the mechanical engineering field and put him on our radar once again,” John Mackirdy said.

“When a vacancy for the position of fleet maintenance engineer came up, we approached him and invited him in for interview. He accepted the position and is proving to be a continuing asset to the company.”

Mackirdy’s have notched up their own success this year, having been voted Scotland’s most innovative hauliers for 2011, and his new boss says Scott could have a great future with the 141-year-old company.

“Ultimately the door is open to him,” John continued. “He can carry on his role as fleet engineer in charge of routine inspection and preventative maintenance, or split the job between driving and the workshop.”

Said Scott: “I had a great time at Hamilton Brothers and I loved the job, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity when I got the offer from Mackirdy Haulage.

“It has given me the chance to stretch myself, to learn more about maintaining, repairing and driving heavy lorries. I’ve always been interested in them and I never want to stop learning new things.

“It also means that I can spend more time at home on Bute and be able to help more on the family farm. I’m still closely involved with the Young Farmers Club, which is very important to me. It’s at the centre of my social life and has always kept me in touch with my friends, the industry and the community.”