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A machine built to celebrate the 70th birthday of the JCB backhoe loader is set to play a major role in training the operators of the future.

Sheffield-based K-Plant Hire has taken delivery of one of the first Platinum Edition JCB backhoe loaders – introduced to commemorate the special anniversary of the iconic machine. The firm, a plant hirer and groundworks contractor for local authorities and private sector companies across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire also runs an operator training business.

It is for this division that the new Platinum Edition JCB backhoe loader, supplied by dealer TC Harrison JCB, will be deployed - as the perfect high specification machine to develop the skills of young plant operators in training. The UK faces a skills shortage with fewer young operators entering the industry. The latest, simple to use JCB backhoe loaders and training providers such as K-Plant are combining to address that need – making it easier than ever for operators to learn the skills to run a machine that can road, load and excavate.

"The beauty of the backhoe loader is that it is so versatile. There is nothing on a site that you can’t do with them. They do everything our customers want and all the operators love them. They have plenty of power, they’re comfortable, the durability is excellent. It’s simply a great all-round machine so we feel it is really important that operators entering the industry develop the skills to operate them, including the servo controls, and can truly maximise their potential."

The JCB Platinum Edition model features servo excavator controls, Powerslide, air conditioning and bi-directional auxiliary flow hydraulics. The machine bears limited edition Platinum decals with a grille badge and platinum-coloured wheels. In the cab there is an embroidered graphic in the carpet and upgraded seat material with 70th anniversary branding, along with a steering wheel centre cap featuring the 70th logo.

K-Plant was established in 1995 to deliver plant hire, groundworks and operator training across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. The company has built a reputation for quality work for leading construction firms including: Finnigans, A-PLANT, AMEY and Flannery. The new Platinum Edition models joins ten existing JCBs in the fleet including backhoe loaders, mini and midi excavators.

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