Teenager Blair Hughes has landed a dream job as a digger driver – and got straight behind the controls of a brand new excavator costing more than £100,000.

Ever since he was a young boy Blair Hughes, 17 has wanted to operate machines. Now his wish has come true after landing a job with the Glasgow-based Clearwater Group, operating a new generation JCB X-Series excavator, which has been launched to great acclaim following a £110 million investment.

Blair joined Clearwater straight from school and the company supported him through CPCS operator courses for excavators, ADTs, wheeled excavators and forklifts. When the company became one of the first in Scotland to purchase the new JCB 220X model from dealer Scot JCB, Blair was given the responsibility of operating the machine.

“I have always wanted to be a plant operator so I jumped at the chance to join Clearwater as soon as I left school,” says Blair. “As soon as I proved my ability and my work ethic, the leadership here and our customers were fantastic in allowing me the opportunity and responsibility to thrive.”

“The JCB220X is the best machine I have driven, it is the smoothest, has the most power and the comfiest cab ever. If I was spending my own money on an excavator, this is what I would buy.”

Blair has primarily been using the machine at a landfill site near Grangemouth where it is performing a variety of heavy excavation duties including loading articulated dump trucks for transporting soil across site.

“Blair has followed my footsteps into the industry and I’m proud to see what he has achieved in such a short space of time,” says Blair’s father – Clearwater Contracts Manager Graeme Hughes. “It is testament to his skills and commitment that he has been welcomed and retained on site by customers at such an early stage of his career.”

“From the outset we were impressed with the look of the machine and it has not disappointed. Loading cycle times are significantly quicker than previous models and it is proving extremely reliable despite being worked hard.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Scot JCB going back 20 years. The service and response are the best in the business and we have always found the equipment high performing and reliable. As a result of the performance of the new X Series machine we have already ordered another one, along with a 175W HRC and a JCB 531-70 Loadall telescopic handler.”

The brand new JCB 220X, 20-tonne tracked excavator model, launched earlier this year, has been designed to provide maximum operator comfort, durability and reliability in operation. Over a four-year development period, JCB has undertaken a programme of intensive component and product testing to achieve increased levels of build quality and reliability for customers in this advanced new machine.