Making a trip to Bristol is never a hardship – it’s a vibrant, forward-thinking city that has a lot to offer people of all ages. In many respects, it’s much like the group of bus and coach technicians who were also in Bristol, taking part in the IRTE Skills Challenge – which was the reason for my journey along the coast to the south west of England. 

Hosted at S&B Automotive Academy, the IRTE Skills Challenge has been going strong for over a decade now. In that time, the competition has helped turn good bus and coach technicians into great bus and coach technicians. As a result, it has raised the overall levels of quality and performance in bus maintenance across the whole passenger service vehicle industry. That progress shouldn’t come as a surprise, because so many people, when required, are more than willing – and able – to step up to the plate. Within my personal life, I see first-hand the willpower that young people have to succeed – and they know it takes hard work, practice and determination. Meanwhile, in my professional capacity, I’ve also seen evidence of all three attributes – not least in Bristol, which was encouraging to see.

Another thing that is vital for the career development of all technicians – not just bus and coach – is encouragement. The transport world is full of highly skilled and experienced individuals who, no doubt, have a wealth of knowledge that they could pass on to the next generation. Granted, some of the young’uns might be resistant to take advice from ‘boomers’, as they would call them, but that attitude is probably only within the minority. The world is a tough place and most people starting out will welcome all the help they can get. Done in the right way, passing on essential skills and advice could make the difference between good and great engineers.

So don’t be afraid to offer your support, insight or guidance to those who might be at the opposite end of the career ladder. Learning the rights and wrongs is an important process – and it’s better to all help each other for a stronger, more skilful industry as a whole, right?     

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