IRTE Skills Challenge to return in June with new ‘Mechelec’ category

Imperial Engineering is a sponsor of IRTE Skills Challenge 2019

Return of the IRTE Skills Challenge

According to leading supplier of OE parts to the UK bus and coach sector, Imperial Engineering, attracting engineers and technicians into the PSV industry remains a major challenge. To help promote and support apprentice training, Imperial Engineering is therefore proud to continue its sponsorship of the UK’s longest running skills contest for bus and coach technicians and apprentices.

Founded a decade ago, the IRTE Skills Challenge is an annual team competition, which aims to find the best technicians working in the bus and coach sector. 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.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the competition is due to take place in June, after last year’s competition was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Organisers have confirmed that measures will be taken if social distancing still needs to be maintained in the summer. S&B Automotive Academy Training and Education Director, Richard Belton, said: “We are currently working in a secure Covid-tested environment so if the competition needs those measures in place, we are ready to comply. As a training organisation, we have had to be flexible and we are confident that we can put on a great competition.”

One new addition for 2021 will be a technical test for apprentices based on the joint mechanical and electrical skills base, known as ‘Mechelec’. It reflects the industry’s growing need for multi-skilled technicians, who are proficient in both disciplines.

It’s the view of leading PSV parts distributor, Imperial Engineering, 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 that nurture and develop their workforce. Imperial Engineering has been an advocate 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. Imperial Engineering has also been a keen supporter of recognising apprentice achievements, by sponsoring some major operator awards.

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.

Gavin Takel, Imperial Engineering’s Technical Sales Manager comments:

“Historically, the bus and coach sector employed bodywork, electrical and mechanical engineers but the multi-skilled technician is now in great demand. With the amount of electronics on vehicles advancing rapidly, individuals who are technically competent in diagnostics and programming components are 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 skills showcase for our industry.”

Organisations wanting to take part in the IRTE Skills Challenge 2021 are invited to email

or call +44 7856 008047. The entry deadline has been extended until April 23.