Television Debut – Impossible Engineering With A Steam Shovel!

8 months ago I undertook maybe my biggest challenge I was contacted by Impossible Engineering to appear on their Tv show talking about steam shovels.

Having never done TV presenting I wasn’t sure what to expect, I was told it was only a short segment but to expect being filmed for the whole day. We filmed at Statforld Barn Railway ( https://statfoldbarnrailway.co.uk ) which is a great place and well worth a visit.

I was presented with a script and a steam shovel, overwhelmed and amazingly excited I went to work!

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The steam shovel is an extraordinary piece of engineering there is only one person who can operate it at Statfold and after sitting in it I can fully understand why!

Screen Shot from the show

The 1915 steam shovel runs off only three levers and a break but the pressure needed to push the break alone is huge! Let alone play the balance off between the leavers, push her too much and the beam can fly back through the cab. No backstop or alarms here! The rope can also just fly off if you don’t get the balance right, you need to feel at one with the machine. 

Screen Shot from the show

Like a huge smoking dragon it’s super hot in there and it takes too people to make the machine work, at the boiler end it can reach 45 degrees!

I finished my day covered in grease dirt and coal but it was fabulous. 

Presenting was something that was far harder than I imagined too we spent all day recording what will only probably be a 5-10 min segment, really great to get an insight into these things and I totally loved it.

Screen Shot from the show

It’s an episode that looks at China and how they move vast amounts of water from the wet south to the dry north. Season 5 Episode 14

I pop up at around 31mins into the episode if anyone wants a look. CLICK HERE

Thank you to Impossible Engineering for giving me a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part.

BBC Bitesize

What do a crane operator , a power lifter and a grime violinist have in common???

Ok not much but we are all featured in a BBC Bitesize piece for International women day.

BBC Bitesize is a learning resource for school children in England.

Please click and have a read –

National Apprenticeship week!!!

I love National Apprenticeship Week, its great seeing what work everyone is doing around apprenticeships in the industry.

I put a video together to give my thoughts about apprenticeships and a look into my experiences.

NAW2020

Year One

So on the 6th of October 2014 I joined the Select first Lifting Technician apprenticeship.

This was a huge step for me I had spent my previous working life working in sales, starting in mobile phones, to advertising eventually ending up in recruitment. Sales was something I started doing while I was at university and it was something I couldn’t shake off, I was pigeon holed nobody would offer me a job doing something else because I was just viewed as a sales person with no transferable skills! I tried for years to reinvent myself to no avail.

I never dreamed of being a crane operator or ever imagined I could do something like that. My apprenticeship provided me with so much support and training I felt like the luckiest person in the world, actually able to reboot her life into a better place. I learned so many skills things I never dreamed I could do, I finally made my parents proud and I was earning a decent income.

I’m going to throw back a post dedicated to each year of my 5 years these photos are from 6th October 2014 to 6th October 2015.

This year I went from college, to training in our yards to my first site at Tottenham Court Road Crossrail where I operated a lovely Liebherr LTR1060.

My first on site crane!
Always kept it neat and tidy
On site at Tottenham Court Road
First PPE

Stickers! (I did a thing)

So where did these come from??

A short while ago I attended a fab event at Brookland’s race course with WES and was giving out small ‘Girl’s can’t what?’ stickers with a picture of a engineer, I posted on Instagram and everyone loved it.

I however felt they were missing a site feel and wondered if I could do my own version featuring a crane, I thought it would be great to promote the small amount of women who work in plant and hopefully encourage a few more to give it a try.

So far they have gone down a storm young girls love them and I have recently had a mention on Crane & Hoist Canada about them. https://www.craneandhoistcanada.com/girls-cant-what-london-crane-operator-launches-industry-stickers/

I am looking to get some cheaper multi print page ones done soon that I can take to schools.

If anyone really is interested in grabbing a sticker from me please drop me a message katie@katiecranes.com

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

So I won’t pretend I knew much about Woman’s hour prior to receiving a phone call about it but did I want to appear on BBC radio with a group of legendary Women in construction…………….. Hell yeah!

When explaining to my Dad that I had been invited to the show he was really happy as when my Nana was alive she always listened to it, I guess this gave me even more of a boost to take part.

It was an bank holiday special dedicated to women in construction and I was privileged to take part with some fabulous women

  • Roma Agrawal MBE– Author of Built and a structural engineer who worked on the Shard.  
  • Cristina Lanz-Azcarate – Chair, London South East NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction).  Also an architect!
  • Hattie Hasan – Plumber and founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers.
  • Sarah Fenton – Partnerships Director Midlands and North, CITB
  • Lynsey Davies – Plasterer from Wales who is now training to be a quantity surveyor

We were all interviewed by Tina Daheley who was fabulous and genuinely really engaged.

With Tina Daheley

It was a brilliant thing to take part in and there was such a positive vibe from everyone – super inspirational! I don’t believe I have been in such a room discussing matters of women working in construction where the main vibe was just positivity , we all spoke about our journeys into the industry, what we would tell people wanting the join the industry and some genuine giggles about things we have overcome.

I truly believe the podcast is worth a listen, it will be uploaded here – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007wsf

A sound bite posted on Twitter that didn’t make the final broadcast – https://twitter.com/BBCWomansHour/status/1165937402839478272/video/1

They say never meet your Idols but Roma was just as brilliant in person
Roma, Christina & Me outside broadcasting house

Building the Liebherr LR1280 Conrad crane model

Amazingly complex model with amazingly simple instructions, for a fool like me who has never made a model it was slightly challenging.

I gave it a good go but the ropes were so fiddly this is now a two part video so I present you, part one!

Filming lifting technician apprentices at Battersea, London.

So on Friday we filmed some of our Select Plant Hire Lifting Technician Apprentices on a very windy platform at the Northern Line Extension.

It’s was great to hear of some of our past apprentices experiences of the scheme and a great insight into them personally.

I was one of the first lifting technicians to join via the apprenticeship in October 2014 and it completely changed my life, from recruitment consultant to crane operator.

Since then we have put over 100 apprentices through this amazing apprenticeship, our lifting techs have worked on some of the largest infrastructure projects in the UK!

Impressive! I’m hoping this video will be a great tool to tell others about our apprenticeship.

Terex Demag CC2800-2 at Bauma

I also had a look around and a sit in the huge Terex Demag CC2800-2 Crawler crane at Bauma.

A Look at the Terex CTT202 tower crane

While at Bauma I visited the Terex stand with Select Plant Hire to see the launch of the new CT202 Tower crane, featuring new telematics and a new cab.