Plantforce Rentals see large intake for new E- learning platform 

Construction Worx Lite talks to Plantforce Rentals, who have recently launched a brand-new free industry-wide machine control E-learning platform, in response to restrictions on classroom training, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With construction companies slowly returning to work, most businesses are under tremendous pressure to find new ways of delivering already established services. Government guidelines on social distancing have impacted the way we work and in just 10-weeks the delivery of training programmes has also changed completely.

Companies will also be looking for new ways to increase productivity and make up for the lost time. In construction a week’s downtime has enormous cost implications. GPS machine control has been growing in popularity in recent years and, used efficiently, can greatly assist with cost reduction and maximise production. This technology is already utilised on the majority of major infrastructure and building projects where it has been proven to reduce downtime and increase site efficiency.

In recent years Plantforce has released a number of training initiatives to better prepare plant operators for work within the major project settings including a collaboration with Weston College to deliver advanced machine control training for already established operators.

The latest incarnation of this collaboration is a brand new ‘online’ e-learning course that offers basic machine control guidance training for beginners. The free course covers the basics such as how GPS works and how to set up your excavator. The training offered is on the Trimble and Leica systems and the course is also backed up with YouTube tutorials.

Since launching the course on 19th May, Plantforce has seen a substantial intake of participants, with over 275 operators enrolling and 100 applicants at one time working online to achieve certification. Plantforce report that the feedback has been phenomenal, with not only operators taking part, but a mix of engineers and site managers all looking to improve their knowledge of machine control systems.

Dale Hawkins, Plantforce digital manager said, “GPS machine control is such a complex subject – mastering the system is a journey into a multifaceted learning programme. This ‘beginners’ course will provide the operator with the initial tools to advance the learning process to become as fast and efficient as possible.”

This new online-based offering is the perfect structured solution for helping the industry return to work with a better knowledge base. It also allows the operator to learn the basics in their own time at a pace that suits them and their needs, without the pressure a classroom environment can sometimes cause.”

Dale continued, “Once a candidate completes the online basic introduction, they will arrive at stage two, the more technical and hands-on element. By introducing a ‘basics course’, Plantforce has created a process that ensures the candidates attending stage two are of an equal knowledgeable understanding.”

The second section of the course is also free but will be hosted at Weston College, following social distancing guidelines. This stage contains a simulation of the machine control interfaces including four hours of practical work on the relevant machine.

“We feel once completed, the candidate will be competent in a role where they could use the machine control systems and start their journey into this fantastic technology,” concluded Dale.

For candidates who are still hungry to learn more – candidates are then able to apply for the advanced training which is charged at £350 per person. This involves the more complex side of machine control.

For further details and to enrol in the free course visit