2021 saw the return of the IRTE Skills Challenge for the bus and coach sector, which is celebrating its 10th year.
Held over three days at S&B Automotive Academy in Bristol, teams from transport fleets across the UK compete in a series of rigorous mechanical, electrical, bodywork and tyre examination tasks, put together by industry specialists, sponsors and the Institute of Road Transport Engineers. The aim is to find the best technicians working in the bus and coach sector and also to showcase the need for new apprentices.
IRTE Skills Challenge
One new addition for 2021 was a technical test for apprentices based on the joint mechanical and electrical skills base, known as ‘Mechelec’, which reflects the industry’s growing need for multi-skilled technicians, who are proficient in both disciplines.
Leading bus parts distributor, Imperial Engineering, has long advocated that ‘home grown’ talent provides meaningful return on investment and there are plenty of industry studies to show that Apprenticeships deliver significant payback to employers which nurture and develop their workforce. Imperial Engineering has been a supporter of bus and coach technician apprenticeships for several years. The company actively supports apprentices at the grassroots level through a number of measures. These include organising training sessions with Imperial Engineering’s OEM suppliers such as Knorr-Bremse, Haldex and Wabco for customers including Arriva, Go Ahead, London United and Metroline.
According to Imperial Engineering, employees who feel valued are more motivated and therefore likely to perform better. Investing in career progression is not only a productive force for staff, it can help managers ensure that the business is well equipped with the right structure, skills and people to meet an improving business climate.
Awarding the trophy for the top electrical apprentice to Daphne Curtis from First Bus at the ceremony, Imperial Engineering’s Sales Director, John Dwight (pictured left), commented:
“With the amount of electronics on vehicles advancing rapidly, individuals who are technically competent in diagnostics and programming components are greatly needed. The IRTE Skills Challenge aims to recognise and promote this expertise, which is endorsed by Imperial Engineering and once again, we’re proud to sponsor this important event for our industry. Congratulations to Daphne for winning the top electrical apprentice award, a fantastic achievement.”