Over the past 12 years, the IRTE Bus & Coach Skills Challenge has evolved as the requirements of the commercial vehicle have grown. This year’s event – in June 2024 – will invite independent operators to get involved

The world of bus and coach – not to mention the wider transport industry – contains a expansive collection of professional technicians, engineers and vehicle specialists. Within this network, individuals are dedicated to ensuring that passenger journeys run smoothly and efficiently – journeys that ultimately depend on the optimum performance of the vehicles they travel in.

Within this intricate web, independent bus operators and regional bus companies play a crucial role, contributing their unique perspectives and talent to the sector. As a result of their status, the IRTE Bus & Coach Skills Challenge 2024 stands as a beacon of opportunity. As such, an invitation to these operators to showcase their skills has been made by the IRTE, with the intention of enabling them to get involved with this year’s event.

The Skills Challenge has long been recognised as a platform where industry professionals come together to celebrate excellence, innovation and skill in the realm of bus and coach operations. Now in its 12th year, the Skills Challenge is on track to be the most ambitious yet. With this goal, the call for all operators, regardless of their size, to share their knowledge and talent should not go unnoticed.

Competitors from all around the country will gather in June at S&B Automotive Academy in Bristol for the Skills Challenge. Here, they will undertake a week of intense testing – with examinations ranging from mechanical to electrical to bodywork. The four days of competition offer an opportunity for competitors that is unrivalled in the transport sector. Competitors will be able to test new technology and also showcase their engineering prowess.

In total, the IRTE Bus & Coach Skills Challenge will feature 16 awards that are open to either individuals (apprentices and technicians), teams or managers. These include the sought-after Philip Margrave Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement and the Judges’ Choice award. Last year’s edition saw competitors from Lothian Buses, Metroline and Trent Barton – and many more –recognised at the prestigious awards. In the Electric Driveline Apprentice category, the winning technician came from Go-Ahead, while the runner-up represented National Express.

In 2024, judges are looking specifically for logical thought process, correct implementation of that process and the accuracy of its recording. For diagnostic tasks, judges will be expecting a firm understanding of the areas of the test as well as the initiative in competitors to relate this understanding to a preferred diagnostic procedure. If the task involves a mechanical process, for example valve clearances, the correct procedure, together with the accuracy of the clearances, will be a valuable part of the marking criteria.

Beyond the competition, the IRTE Bus & Coach Skills Challenge is a renowned hub of collaboration and networking. Independent operators and smaller bus companies can connect with industry leaders and form partnerships. The event provides a unique opportunity for operators to establish themselves as key players in the broader transportation landscape.

The IRTE Bus & Coach Skills Challenge 2024 invites bus operators, big and small, to showcase their skills and celebrate the talent that fuels the transport industry. By participating in this prestigious event, operators can contribute to the collective growth of the sector, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation that will shape the future of our industry.

To enter the 2024 IRTE Skills Challenge, visit www.tinyurl.com/35m78k8v.

Related content