News

VACUK – Best Fleet

Vac UK continues to invest in Vacuum Excavators to ensure it has the best fleet in the UK.

By the end of t his year we wil l be the second largest Vacuum Excavator supplier in the UK and the best in terms of the quality of our fleet. 85% of Vac UK’s business is repeat business and we continue to pick up new customers every week. We hire out our suction excavators to over 50 different companies and we don’t usually have any more than 10% of our Vac Ex business with any one client.

Our client base is created from a mixture of the UK’s largest civil engineering and construction companies to many smaller up and coming companies. The majority of Vac UK’s machines are hired with operators, but we also have a lease hire option.

We are committed to investing millions each year in new products to make sure our clients hire the most technolologically advanced fleet of reliable, safe and environmentally friendly equipment. Companies are increasingly turning to Vac UK for our specialist knowledge and experience in delivering vacuum excavator solutions on the most complex of projects.

Impact of COVID-19

The coronavirus crisis has been difficult for everyone in the industry and in wider society. Kilkern and Vac UK have spent a lot of time during the lockdown reviewing working procedures to see how we can mitigate the impact of the virus and keep our workers working safely and two metres apart. We are fortunate that a lot of our work is classified as essential infrastructure so have kept quite a few of our areas of operation open. We have also spent a lot of time supporting community initiatives including securing PPE for hospitals in London and using our surplus vans to deliver food supplies to elderly people having to self-isolate.

We would like to send a special thanks to all our staff and customers for helping the business through the coronavirus outbreak. It’s been a difficult time for everyone but together we will emerge stronger.

VAC UK Welcomes the New Recruits

VAC UK team up with the British Army to combat the skills shortage.

Our vacuum excavator business recruit second men who need a HGV license. Their main role is to work alongside the main vacuum excavator operator as a back up driver for health and safety reasons. This is a great opportunity to train up new apprentices and put them through a structured and industry approved training programme.

Kilkern is committed to diversity and social inclusion and recruiting ex-army drivers for our vacuum excavator business helps us to offer a solution to the industry, which is struggling with a skills crisis.

The project has been a great success, we have already recruited three ex-army drivers. One of the drivers is Michael Brown. Michael was a Sergeant in the British Army before joining Kilkern as a vacuum excavator driver two years ago During his army career Michael was a keen footballer and travelled the world playing football for the British Army. He also was a great boxer and twice won the Army Light Heavyweight Championships. During his career in the army he was trained as a paratrooper and was posted to Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan and Cyprus to work as an adventure training instructor for the United Nations.

Michael is now fully trained and is one of our best drivers. He has been helping us to recruit other drivers from the army. Vac UK have teamed up with BuildForce, a UK employer-led initiative that helps former armed services personnel find rewarding careers in the construction and built environment sectors. It connects the military community to construction careers through a UK-wide alliance of employers, industry bodies and charities, supported by government.

Around 14,000 people leave the armed forces each year, many of whom are not aware of the opportunities available within the construction industry. The BuildForce initiative, which is part-funded by the CITB Structured & Flexible Fund, is also backed by its founding partners: Crossrail, EY, Lendlease, Morgan Sindall and Wilson James.

Ex-military personnel have great transferable skills like teamwork, problem solving, punctuality and leadership, which are highly prized and valuable. By giving support to service leavers who are interested in a career in civil engineering Kilkern and Vac UK can help make the changeover to civilian employment easier for them, which also helps ease the skills shortage in our industry.

Kilkern recruit new Operations Manager to head up Kilkern specialist Labour Hire

Last month David Thompson started as the head of Kilkern specialist Labour. David is 29 and lives in Manchester and has two children and is an avid Manchester United supporter. When David was 17 he spent two years working on the oil sands in Alberta Canada digging for syncrude oil. When he returned to the UK he then spent 4 years working as a groundworker and a gangerman for civil engineering contractors in the North West of England including Churngold remediation. David spent a few years working for Flannery Plant Hire where he learnt his trade in the front line of construction recruitment recruiting 360 operators for projects throughout the UK. David’s wife is a care worker and recently had two patients in her care die from the Coronavirus so David has felt the effects of the crisis close to home. David recently went out to deliver food to the food banks throughout the North West of England on behalf of Kilkern. This was part of a coordinated effort organised by Manchester City council which involved distributing items to vulnerable and disadvantaged people most affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

David has a special interest in training apprentices and also bringing more women into the construction industry and is currently recruiting two new apprentices to join his team in Manchester who will complete a two year formal apprentice programme which he will mentor them through.

Vac UK team up with the British Army to help solve the skills crisis

Vac UK recruit second men who need a HGV license. Their main role is to work alongside the main vacuum Excavator Operator as a back up driver for health and safety reasons. This is also a great opportunity to train up new apprentices and put them through a structured and industry approved training programme. Kilkern is committed to diversity and social inclusion and recruiting Ex Army drivers for our vacuum excavator business helps us to offer a solution to the industry which is struggling with a skills crisis. We have so far recruited six ex army drivers and we have found the project to be a great success. One of the drivers is Michael Brown. Michael was a Sergeant in the British army before joining Kilkern as a vacuum excavator driver two years ago. During his army career Michael was a keen footballer and travelled the world playing football for the British Army. He also was a great boxer and twice won the Army light heavyweight championships. During his career in the army he was trained as a paratrooper and was posted to Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan. Michael also worked in Cyrprus to work as an adventure training instructor for the united nations. Michael is now fully trained and is one of our best drivers. Michael has also been helping us to recruit other drivers from the Army. Vac UK have also teamed up with BuildForce a UK-wide employer-led initiative which will help former armed services personnel find rewarding careers in the construction and built environment sectors. It will connect the military community to construction careers through a UK-wide alliance of employers, industry bodies and charities, supported by government.

Around 14,000 people leave the armed forces each year, many of whom are not aware of the opportunities available within the construction industry. The BuildForce initiative, which is part-funded by the CITB Structured & Flexible Fund, is also backed by its founding partners: Crossrail, EY, Lendlease, Morgan Sindall and Wilson James.

Ex-miltary personnel tend to have great transferable skills like teamwork, problem solving, punctuality and leadership which are highly prized and valuable. By giving support to service leavers who are interested in a career in civil engineering Kilkern and Vac UK can help make the changeover to civilian employment easier for them, and that also at the same time provide assistance in easing the skills shortage in our industry.

Project Focus: A500 Stoke

The team at Kilkern Highways has recently completed the verge northbound and southbound section of the A500 Highways England Carriageway Widening. The job was carried out safely, on time and on budget for client Geoffrey Osborne, despite the difficulty of COVID-19.

The scope of the scheme is widening the carriageways of the A500 from two to three lanes. Kilkern has completed the verge on the northbound and southbound successfully and is now progressing well on the central reservation. Due to the COVID-19 crisis we worked collaboratively with our client to revise the working methodology to ensure operatives remain two metres apart. This has included the hire of additional vans, so each operative can commute to and from site in their own van, additional welfare facilities and providing PPE.

Kilkern have provided all plant and supervision labour for all site clearance, earthworks, installation of new drainage, ducting and construction of the footpath, cycleways and carriageway up to subgrade. We have undertaken additional works on site such at waterproofing the bridge deck.

The Programme Director of Highways England recently visited the job and formally recognised the efforts made by all of the delivery team. He noted that it was a significant testament of the teams resilience and professionalism in continuing their concerted efforts during these challenging times. The A500 is one of the first Highways England projects in the country, if not the first, to pro-actively plan, manage and execute an alternative safe system of works in cognisance of the reduced traffic on the network. He noted that the whole of the A500 team should be very proud of their collective effort, and the efforts being afforded during these exceptionally challenging times.

Battling Storm Ciara

In February a team from Kilkern Highways contracting braved storm Ciara to dig up and relay a section of the motorway in Yorkshire – all in one night.

The team were helped by Flannery Plant Hire who supplied an excellent machine and driver and an innovative slabbing bucket, which helped us to complete the job with maximum efficiency. This is a great example of how we can collaborate with best in class suppliers to bring innovative solutions to help our clients outperform their production targets.

 

Airports commission backs Heathrow Plan and the plans are amazing

A decision on Heathrow Airport is expected by the end of the year.

Heathrow Airport have released artist impressions of how the prospective new third runway will look.

The north west runway will be two miles (3,200m) long ?and will be big enough for any aircraft in the world to use. A new central terminal will also be built, as well as an expanded business park.

It is believed that a three-runway Heathrow will provide up to 740,000 flights a year which is enough for Heathrow to compete on an equal footing with Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

The new Heathrow Airport will create up to 180,000 jobs. Kilkern believe its ridiculous that we have to wait so long for the UK to increase aircraft capacity. Our global competitors in the European area in Holland and Germany must have been rubbing their hands in glee at our lack of action. Now a decision is soon to be announced and we are truly excited about the proposals. A third runway at Heathrow is the sensible choice as Heathrow is already the best airport in the UK by a wide distance and its always sensible to improve your best asset rather than trying to create a new one. I fly back and over to Ireland every week from London and having tried all the airports in and around London I know from personal experience that for customer service, accessibility and the services on offer Heathrow is by far the best. Kilkern supplied labour into the Heathrow Airport project for the tail end of the T5 programme of work so we are always biased in terms of wanting to approve construction projects. In fact we want them to expand all the other airports too. If we lived under Heathrow airport we would probably oppose it as everyone is a NIMBY when its in their own back yard but as far as the wider community is concerned the Heathrow expansion is the best choice.

Kilkern supplies staff in London and the South East and across the UK including technical and supervisory staff and site labour. Kilkern has specialist divisions for Water, Rail, Tunnelling, Power and Construction.

Get in Touch

Contact us now if you looking for a Highways and Infrastructure contractor, Specialist Labour Supplier or Operated Vacuum Excavator hire company, with an impeccable health and safety record, that will get the job done right first time.