Automotive apprentices look to WorldSkills

Five automotive apprentices from Central College Nottingham’s Emtec Centre in Ruddington are a step closer to representing the UK at the international WorldSkills competition, after impressing the judges at a regional competition.

The heats of the new Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Skill Auto Competition have been held at Emtec over the past month.

The three winners and two runners up from Emtec scored highly enough to go through to the next round of qualifiers in May and June, which could see them through to the national finals and even on to the global WorldSkills.

In past years, the initial round involved online testing, but the new hands-on pilot is designed to better-prepare competitors for WorldSkills and to recreate a more realistic work environment during the test.

Emtec hosted three competitions: paint refinishing, body repair, and light vehicle.

In the paint refinishing competition, the winners were Jordan Hemsley, Level 2 Vehicle Accident Repair (Paint) apprentice at NK Motors Kia dealership in Chilwell, Notts, while the runner up was Joe Ilife, Level 2 Vehicle Accident Repair (Paint) apprentice at BMW Sytner, Lenton Lane, Nottingham.

In the body repair, Callum Scothern, Level 2 Vehicle Accident Repair (Body) apprentice at BMW Sytner, Lenton Lane, Nottingham was the winner with the runner up being Matthew Fearn, Level 2 Vehicle Accident Repair (Body) apprentice at Pentagon, Burton-on-Trent.

The light vehicle winner was Emily-Jane Hayward, Level 3 Light Vehicle Maintenance & Repair apprentice at Wessex Garages Kia in Newport, Wales.

Jorda, who, is now planning to complete his Level 3 qualification, said, ‘It was a great contest with a good bunch of competitors and I think I’ve made some lifelong friends! Winning has brought me closer to the WorldSkills competition, opened doors for the future, and got my name out there as a vehicle painter.’

Speaking about Callum and Joe, their employer, bodyshop manager Jon Debalsi from Sytner, said, ‘Both apprentices have excelled my expectations and Sytner have recognised their performance. A fantastic achievement.’

Describing Emily’s success, Anthony Harwood, skills trainer at Emtec, said, ‘Emily is a very competent technician with bags of energy and a great willingness to learn. I am sure she will go a long way within the motor industry.’

Jon Rawson, head of school at Emtec said, ‘The competition was extremely close-fought this year. This experience prepares young people for future WorldSkills UK competitions and even potentially WorldSkills, but so much more besides. The competition experience helps them really focus their skills and tests their confidence, by putting them under pressure to perform. They can take this experience with them into their future employment.’