IRTE Skills Challenge winners

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Bus technicians from across the UK were honoured last week (July 18) at the third annual IRTE Skills Challenge winners’ presentation.

The IRTE Skills Challenge took place over three days at Bristol’s S&B Automotive Academy, with a series of mechanical, electrical and bodywork tests focusing on areas affecting safety and reliability. Industry professionals gathered at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge to see the winners presented with the coveted awards.

Arriva technicians Glenn Cooke, Colin Harris and Stephen Hall took the IRTE Award for Outstanding Achievement, which goes to the team with the combined highest scores throughout the competition. Colin and Glenn were part of the team that won this award last year, alongside 2012 team-mate Charlie Devlin. As part of their prize the three receive a year’s free membership of IRTE.

Glenn said: “I’m very pleased to win an award, and it’s a privilege to be awarded membership of IRTE.”

Keynote speaker VOSA Executive Director, Alex Fiddes, called the role of technicians an ‘underappreciated profession’, and said: “The IRTE Skills Challenge is a fantastic event that recognises everything that’s good about the bus industry. It’s a chance to celebrate the operators and technicians who strive to achieve the highest professional standards, something VOSA and I strongly encourage.”

Peter Lewis, Lead Auditor UK Bus for competing operator FirstGroup, said: “This competition is a great opportunity for the bus industry to demonstrate the quality of our people. This is our first time in the competition and we are delighted to win five awards. This reflects on our investment in training and accrediting our technicians across FirstGroup UK Bus by the development of our internal mobile training facility and it’s good to see the benefits being delivered.”

The IRTE Skills Challenge is sponsored by Allison Transmission, BAE Systems, Bridgestone, Halfords Trade, Knorr-Bremse and Shell Lubricants, with added support from MAN, Scania and Volvo.