Alignment training boosts World Skills finalists

A special wheel alignment training course was held at Pro-Align’s Northamptonshire headquarters in a bid to bring a gold medal back to the UK from the upcoming World Skills final in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The two day session was attended by Elijah Sumner, Declan McGrath and James Betts – UK Skills squad – who were to battle it out in the Team Selection Competition for the coveted prize of becoming the UK World Skill representative.

Elijah, an apprentice technician from Halfords in Cardiff, was the outright winner of the four day selection competition which consisted of six three hour test projects to include body electrical, transmission, braking systems, engine management, engine mechanical and finally, steering and suspension assessments. He will now represent the UK in the final of the global search later this month to find the best apprentice vehicle technician in the world.

During the two days at Pro-Align, Elijah brushed up his wheel alignment knowledge and skills with a mixture of theory, application and practical, hands-on sessions using a variety of Hunter alignment equipment.

‘It was a real pleasure to host Elijah and help him improve his wheel alignment skills in the run up to the World Skills final,’ commented Paul Beaurain, managing director, Pro-Align. ‘His professionalism and enthusiasm for learning and development was fantastic to see and we wish him the very best of luck in the final.’

Holding an NVQ level 3 qualification in automotive technology and having recently completed Halfords’ apprenticeship programme. But despite working with wheel alignment equipment on a daily basis, Elijah acknowledged the boost that the training course had given him.

‘At work, we use our tracking gauge to check the front toe of every car coming in for service work,’ explained Elijah. ‘However, now having seen how to do a four wheel alignment check properly, I realise that there were some massive gaps in my skills and knowledge. My understanding and perception about alignment has changed unbelievably during the course and I’m really excited to be able to put this new knowledge into practice in both the final and in my workplace.’

As an advocate of raising standards and developing young talent in the automotive industry, Pro-Align has supported the Skills Show in the UK since 2010, supplying equipment for the annual event at the NEC as well as hosting numerous training courses for competitors. Additionally the company also hosts regular training sessions for automotive college tutors, helping them to keep their skills and knowledge current in such a rapidly changing environment.

Talking about his World Skills participation so far, Elijah was wholeheartedly in favour of the experience. ‘If any apprentices are thinking about entering the Skills competition, I’d say, 100% go for it. You meet some fantastic people along the way and the knowledge you gain is just incredible. It’s proper first-hand knowledge from industry experts that you simply can’t get by reading a book or going on the internet. You can’t put a price on it!’

Apprentices wishing to learn more about the competition can visit www.worldskills.org.