Seventeen young apprentices embarked on the restoration project in late 2016 and have unveiled the finished result at Terex Trucks’ HQ in Motherwell, where it will go on display in time for Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2018.

The R17 dump truck, which weighs 13.5 tonnes, was built at the factory in 1973 and spent most of its days working at Leith Quarry in Aberdeenshire. Owners, West of Scotland Heavy Haulage, generously donated the hauler to Terex Trucks on loan. The apprentices were set the challenge of refurbishing the truck to full operating condition by manufacturing or sourcing replacement parts, which in itself was no straightforward task as the original designs were all on paper and many parts discontinued.

Apprentices with the completed R17 hauler

Managing director of Terex Trucks, Paul Douglas, who started with the company as a graduate over 30 years ago, said: “This was the first time we’d ever undertaken a project like this and it’s been fantastic to see how much the apprentices got out of it.

“The beauty of it was that it gave the apprentices ownership of something from start to finish, learning a vast array of skills and the need for first class teamwork and communication along the way.  From my own graduate experience, I know how important this period in your working life is in building skills towards a future sustainable career."

“The team should be extremely proud of all they have achieved; transforming a 43-year-old truck is no mean feat, even if it does have a much simpler operating system than the electronics used today.  The apprentices had to learn about the mechanics behind the original truck and this has really helped them understand the evolution of the truck designs compared to the models we produce today.”

Mentored by Terex Trucks’ employee Davey Rainey, apprentices Fraser Blackwood and Edward Massey led the project.  Staff from different disciplines at Terex Trucks, particularly Wullie Law, Craig McSpadyen and Stephen Bradley, were also on hand to provide technical advice relating to their work specialisms at various stages throughout the project. 

Edward Massey commented: “Having the opportunity to restore an iconic Terex Trucks model is a definite career highlight and it’s humbling to have been given the opportunity to lead on such a unique and invaluable project.”

Although the majority of restoration works were undertaken by apprentices at the Motherwell factory, some items such as the driver seat, engine and radiator were outsourced to external companies for renovation.

The R17 engine was sent to Cummins’ facility in Cumbernauld, Scotland, where it was originally manufactured.  Two Cummins’ apprentices carried out the refurbishment and Terex Trucks’ apprentices visited Cummins to see how the company operates and its different working methods.

The original ‘Terex Green’ paint colour was also sourced through leading worldwide supplier of industrial coatings, Beckers, which heightened the authenticity of the finished result.

Edward continued:  “Gathering information on the parts, sourcing suppliers, getting quotes and communicating on costs and lead times allowed us to gain valuable experience that would not normally form part of our apprentice role.  All of the apprentices gained experience in their specific discipline as well as learning a great deal about other aspects of the business.” 

Terex Trucks’ dedicated apprenticeship scheme takes approximately four years to complete and provides practical experience in a number of disciplines as well as academic qualifications such as Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) and National Qualifications (NQs).  Apprentices, who are recruited through the East Kilbride Group Training Association, work alongside and learn from expert engineers, technicians and team members which equips them with skills in departments including engineering and quality or the procurement discipline.

Applications to Terex Trucks’ 2018 apprenticeship scheme will open later this month.

Detailed below are the various companies who have assisted with the apprentice project:

  • Cummins provided an engine refurbishment at parts-cost only. No charge for labour and the company also had apprentices at the Cumbernauld facility assisting with the restoration, keeping it as an apprentice project even for the outsourced aspects.
  • Bridgestone provided a full new set of tyres free of charge which were fitted on the truck.
  • Beckers was able to source the original ‘Terex Green’ paint. The company provided this to Terex Trucks free of charge and allowed the team to restore the truck to as close to the original colour as possible.
  • Inverness-based company Sean C Smith Autotrim restored the driver’s seat.