There were no formal qualifications for people working with hand-held tools before CITB funded Hire Association Europe (HAE).

Until HAE applied to CITB’s Flexible Fund, approximately 70% of HAE’s 850 members had struggled to find training specific to plant mechanics and fitters.

As a result of receiving funding the sector’s training and qualification needs have been rejuvenated.

Tool hire companies working with small plant have, for the first time, a training route which is:

  • specific to their requirements
  • delivered on-site
  • assessed in the workplace.

As HAE Commercial Manager Richard Whiting explains the new courses made possible by CITB Flexible funding (£25,725) have had a huge impact on fitters and plant mechanics’ training and work.

“To have a sustainable, planned, roll-out of training in place is a huge step forward, particularly for our smaller independent companies who asked us for help in providing specific training, delivered on site or close by,” says Richard.


HAE’s aim was to increase access to the right training for fitters and plant mechanics in the tool hire industry. Right training would mean the workforce would become competent in ensuring hire equipment, especially small hand-held tools, was serviced and repaired correctly.


A modular programme was designed for service technicians and maintenance staff of small tools in the hire industry.

During the six-month project HAE developed this in partnership with Training for Hire, Robertson Training, HireTrain Training Forum and the HAE Members’ Working Group.

“Applying for funding,” says Richard “meant we were able to design the required modules and deliver training earlier than originally planned.”

The training leads to a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Construction Plant or Machinery Maintenance.


The nine training modules in the programme cover topics including: electrical, small plant and health and safety.  Industry and technical experts ensured training was delivered in line with Sector specific Codes of Practice, SafeHire and best practice, ensuring modules are recognised across the sector.


“Much of the training is about fault-finding but it also includes risk assessment so trainees can understand the principles of correct servicing and repair needs,” says Richard.

“Training is also delivered on-site or locally so staff are not absent for long periods of time.”

Ensuring hired kit is serviced and repaired correctly extends the life of the machines, benefitting the whole industry.