IRTE Skills Challenge to welcome engineers and technicians

The IRTE Skills Challenge is set to welcome the next generation of public service vehicle (PSV) engineers and technicians for its 12th anniversary.

The Skills Challenge is a national competition where PSV engineers, technicians and apprentices from across the bus and coach sector meet at the S&B Automotive Academy in Bristol and put their skills to the test in a variety of challenges.

Since its origin, the Skills Challenge, organised by the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) in partnership with S&B Automotive Academy, has witnessed more than 650 aspiring technicians take part, providing them with a platform to test their skills across electrical, mechanical and bodyworks.

This year, under the theme of ‘challenging the status quo’, the Skills Challenge takes on a new dimension with the introduction of a new optional category featuring new technology. This addition will allow competitors to gain hands-on experience with innovations and showcase their adaptability in an evolving industry.

Richard Belton, operations director at S&B Automotive Academy, said: “The IRTE Skills challenge is focusing on existing and future technologies. We want to show the development of skills within the industry and the high levels that are attainable. The skills challenge has not forgotten about safety and the everyday skills that technicians and body repairers need for the industry, but we will also be adding in a new category for those people that have more experience in the advancing technologies side of the business. This will encompass the whole range of new fuels and propulsion systems within the bus and coach and so will test further the advancing skill levels in the industry.”

The competition is open to operators of all sizes. Last year saw entries from operators such as Arriva, First Bus and Go Ahead alongside regional companies Lothian and Trentbarton. The Skills Challenge showcases talent from the length and breadth of the sector.

IRTE's commitment to challenging the status quo extends beyond the Skills Challenge, with its Irtec and Workshop accreditation schemes recognised as industry standards.

Entries are open now for the IRTE Bus & Coach Skills Challenge 2024. Register your interest here. (


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