Apprentices set for automotive Olympics

IMI has announced the 2016 Skill Auto finalists who will battle it out over three days at the Skills Show in November at the NEC in Birmingham.

Six apprentices from four categories – automotive tech, body repair, refinishing and heavy vehicle – will compete against each other for a gold medal and a chance to represent the UK at the ‘Olympic Games’ for skills, the WorldSkills event in Russia in 2019.

The 24 finalists earned their place in Birmingham – where they will work with trucks, cars and equipment supplied by BMW, Car-O-Liner, DAF, Glasurit, Iveco and MAN, Kia, MATCO, Morelli, Pro Align, SATA, Toyota, Volvo, VW and 3M – after coming through grueling qualifying heats involving 300 of the top apprentices in the motor industry.

One of the highlights of this year’s competition will be the first appearance of a plug-in hybrid vehicle, the BMW i3. There are currently only around 1,000 technicians in the UK qualified and accredited to work on the high voltage systems found in electric and hybrid cars.

IMI’s David Massie, skills competition manager, said, ‘The standard of this year’s finalists is astonishing, they’re all world-class in my opinion.  I’m looking forward to a great show in November.

‘The addition of the Heavy Vehicle section and the use of a plug-in hybrid to test the finalists will really give this year’s competition an edge. Anyone interested in future skills in the motor industry would be mad to miss it.’

The finalists are:

Automotive Body Repair
Harry Devine: Body Motorworks / Chesterfield College
Shawn Dyson: Chartwell / Chesterfield College
Hayden Forrester: Excel Body Repairs / Gateshead College
Justin Mahon: Kevin Connolly Car Sales / Southern Regional College
Lewis Owers: Nationwide Crash Repair / Thatcham
Michael Sanlon: Trust Ford / Transport Training Services

Automotive Refinishing
Daniel Appleby: JD Macadam and Son / Training 2000
Kirsty Ashley: Nationwide Crash Repair / Cardiff & vale College
Tom Harris: Davies Motor Company
Christopher Jones: Sinclair Group / Cardiff & Vale College
Michael Massey: Alton Motors / Chesterfield College
Theodoros Tsouknidas: Nationwide Crash Repair / Cardiff & Vale College

Automotive Technology
Brett Gibson: Hatfields Land Rover / Jaguar Land Rover Academy
Harry Garroway: Heritage VW Van Centre / VW Apprenticeship Programme
Ryan Kane: Donnelly Group / South West College
Walter McElroy: Weston Cars / South West College
Eoin McCluskey: Desmond Motors / Northwest College
Gareth Murphy: Ian Steed / South West College