Belfast Telegraph

I really dig my job: Carrie Murray is Ireland's only female excavator operator

Carrie Murray with the JCB heavy machinery she handles every day
Carrie Murray with the JCB heavy machinery she handles every day
Carrie Murray with the JCB heavy machinery she handles every day
Carrie Murray with the JCB heavy machinery she handles every day

By Chris McCullough

Meet Carrie, a 25-year-old from Co Down who is thought to be the only female excavator operator working on a demolition site in Ireland.

As she makes strides in the industry, she is hoping to inspire other women to consider a similar career.

Caroline Murray, better known as Carrie, lives on a farm and is well-used to driving tractors, but she is now operating a 36-tonne excavator for a demolition company.

For the past two months Carrie has worked for McCormack Demolition based at Mallusk, operating heavy machinery.

As the only female in the company operating heavy equipment, Carrie was a little worried about how her co-workers would receive her in what is often perceived to be a male-dominated environment.

But she had nothing to be worried about as her skills showed how confident she was behind the controls of a large JCB.

In addition her mentor, dad James, also works for the same company.

She said: "I live on a small farm at Craigantlet and have grown up around machinery.

"In the past I have also worked on vegetable farms and I currently milk cows at the weekends, so I am not afraid of hard work.

"We have a small five-tonne excavator on the farm and I drive it a lot.

"I often wondered what it would be like to drive the bigger excavators but never had the chance - until now."

With no real experience in operating the larger machinery, Carrie knew it would be tough finding a job in the industry as not many companies would be willing to take her on.

"Getting that experience required by companies in order for them to employ you is a tough challenge," said Carrie.

"I went and took some training courses that qualified me with the excavator licence, enabling me to operate machines at 10 tonnes above and below.

"This involved both theory training and practical training and means I am qualified to operate machinery on a site.

"With this to hand I started looking around to see if I could get work and was very fortunate that McCormack Demolition was looking for operators and decided to give me a chance."

Carrie said she "couldn't be happier" and that she receives lots of support from her colleagues.

"I work five days a week for McCormack Demolition and still milk cows at the weekends.

"I guess all that experience accumulated on the farm driving tractors and a small excavator has paid off," she added.

She continued: "At the moment I am working on a site near Banbridge operating a 36-tonne JCB JS360XD with a pulveriser attachment on the jib.

"This is being used to crush up concrete on the site to remove the metal reinforcing for recycling.

"I absolutely adore driving the big excavators and am very thankful to McCormack Demolition for giving me the opportunity to prove myself."

Eamon Deery is the contracts manager at McCormack Demolition and was full of praise for Carrie.

"Carrie is a very skilled operator and is very capable of handling even our biggest excavators," he said.

"Based on the knowledge of how good she was with machinery, we decided to give her a go and that has worked out well.

"Young people need to be given a chance, otherwise how will they ever gain experience?

"We believe Carrie is the only female operator working for a demolition company in Northern Ireland or in the Republic of Ireland.

"The crew has taken her in well.

"We operate an equal opportunities working environment with zero tolerance to any conflicts within the workforce."

He added: "Hopefully this recognition for Carrie will encourage other female operators to come forward to companies."

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