Bus and coach tech challenge is on

The IRTE Skills Challenge – an exciting annual competition that aims to find the best bus and coach technicians and apprentices in the UK and Ireland – is now open for registration.

Founded by the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) in 2011, the event invites operators large and small to test the skills of their technicians and apprentices against each other in a bid to discover the best in the bus and coach world.

Held each year at S&B Automotive Academy in Bristol, the competition includes theoretical and practical assessments in mechanical, electrical, and bodywork categories, with a particular focus on safety and compliance. It presents an invaluable opportunity for technicians to measure their skills against those from other operators, and to highlight and raise standards across the industry.

Last year’s event attracted 50 competitors from 10 major operators, including Arriva, Translink, and Metroline, with a team from FirstGroup taking home the overall top prize.

‘Testing was very professionally done, and very hard; there were lots of challenges to undertake and I enjoyed it a lot,’ said Ray Silcox, a member of last year’s winning team from FirstGroup. ‘I think it’s worthwhile because it gives technicians and apprentices a chance to shine and show their skills, and gives them kudos if they win. It also shows that managers have faith in them by putting them forward for the Challenge.’

Sponsored by Allison Transmission, Bridgestone, Groeneveld, Knorr-Bremse, and Shell, the IRTE Skills Challenge has been embraced by operators as a way of promoting their commitment to skills and training. Top teams and individuals have the opportunity to win a wide array of great prizes from Teng Tools, as well as a year’s free membership of IRTE for the top team.

Testing for the competition will take place in the week commencing 6 June 2016, and bus and coach operators are invited to enter teams of three technicians/apprentices by 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in July.

Entry to the competition is free and a registration form for operators can be found at www.soe.org.uk/irteskills