Bridgestone irtec tyre trial passes first test
8th Mar 2017
Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre manufacturer, has become the first UK operator to trial a new accreditation standard for tyre technicians.
The irtec tyre assessment evaluates technicians on a number of practical and theoretical tasks, and includes an online test. If successful, the technician will be licensed for five years.
In January, Bridgestone assessed the first commercial technicians at Tyreforce in Manchester, and are supporting the scheme they believe will help professionalise the industry.
Bridgestone’s Phil Thirsk, a qualified assessor having passed his own test in October, believes the industry has been greatly in need of an accreditation standard which recognises the vital services provided by tyre technicians.
“It is not an easy job, especially when working in tough conditions, and quite often they have to make difficult decisions when working alone,” he said. “They work long hours and perform a hugely important role in our society. It’s time they were given the recognition they deserve.
“We regard irtec tyre as an accreditation standard of great substance, which is both credible and professional. With independent operators getting bigger, there is a need to establish a measure of best practice,” said Phil.
“The industry has been in need of regulation and control, and irtec tyre fills this void. It supports the career progression of technicians. We have seen today how keen they are in proving their capabilities – the irtec tyre accreditation gives assurances that those conducting this important and dangerous work are accomplished and qualified.”
When asked about how the testing process was received by tyre technicians, Phil said he has witnessed first-hand how the assessment boosts morale.
“Many of the technicians being assessed have not gone through anything like this before, so it can be a little daunting for some of them. But as soon as they get started and their confidence grows, they are able to demonstrate how good they really are. irtec tyre will work as a form of empowering technicians in the workshop, I have no doubt about that.
“Bridgestone were interested in irtec tyre at an early stage and, having now seen at first-hand how the process works, we want to encourage other industry professionals to jump on board.”
According to Phil, it is difficult to estimate how important such a program could be in securing the future of the tyre industry.
“In the past there have been companies doing different tests and training, which has resulted in standards varying hugely across the industry. Despite the changes in technology, there will always be the need to manually fit a tyre. By introducing irtec tyre, we feel we are investing in the future of technicians and an industry in need of regulation,” he concluded.
SOE will be showcasing irtec tyre at the CV Show from 25-27 April at the NEC in Birmingham.