Awards ceremony celebrates biggest-ever Skills Challenge14 July 2017

John Eastman (left) awards Bournemouth Transport with the IRTE Outstanding Team Award

The winners of the IRTE Skills Challenge have been crowned in a ceremony at the Williams F1 conference centre in Oxfordshire.

The awards ceremony was the conclusion of a competition involving 25 teams designed to find the best bus and coach technicians in the UK.

Bournemouth Transport won the IRTE Outstanding Team Award, whilst Wayne Ellis from Arriva UK Bus took home the Philip Margrave Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Top Scoring DVSA Inspection Technician was awarded to Karl McTague of Translink, with Eugene Arbuzov of First Bus UK taking the prize for the DVSA Inspection Apprentice. A total of 28 awards were given out on the day.

SOE Chief Executive Ian Chisholm believes the awards ceremony proves that the bus and coach sector has many fine engineers, all prepared to test themselves in a pressurised environment. He says: “This competition is a wonderful example of how capable modern engineers are, regardless of the sector. We have seen the contestants rewarded today for their ability to use their initiative in several different examinations, over the course of the testing week. To attract so many teams is hugely encouraging and bodes well for engineering in the UK.”

Beginning in 2011, the IRTE Skills Challenge has gone from an eight-team contest to the far-reaching competition of today, and Ian is confident it will expand again next year.

He says: “Our intention is to show the environment in which modern engineers operate, and we look forward to doing the same next year, but on a bigger scale again. If we are to attract more engineers into this sector, we need to continue to show the varied and diverse roles available to those keen to pursue a vocational career path,” says Ian. “I would like to thank our sponsors, supporters and partners, without whom the Skills Challenge would not be possible.”

Tower Transit of Singapore, the first team from outside the British Isles, picked up the runner-up in the Mechanical and Bodywork award. All winners were given a set of Teng Tools.

The Skills Challenge testing week takes place each year at the S&B Automotive Training Academy in Bristol.

Andrew Knight

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