SOE News

Biggest Skills Challenge exceeds expectations

16th Jun 2017

Faced with the task of serving an industry known for its fast-paced innovation and technological change, the biggest IRTE Skills Challenge to date did not disappoint.

A record 25 teams were present at S&B Automotive Academy in Bristol, over a four-day period in early June, with an expectant group of contestants and industry professionals all present to witness a vibrant engineering competition, designed to showcase best practice in the sector.
The competition included seven mechanical tests, eight electrical and three body-work, with a mix of practical and written examinations.

SOE Chief Executive Ian Chisholm, reflecting on another rewarding event, said: “It is important that the competition shows the modern face of the industry, with contemporary practices forming a substantial share of the testing, combined with more traditional evaluations.”

Competing this year was a team from Singapore for the first time, adding a global feel to the event. Many teams gathered in the testing arena discussing their experiences and best practice.

“It is very encouraging how the competition continues to grow each year. We started relatively small, but, as we have introduced more elements, it has become something else entirely, and we now feel we are in the position to influence the sector in a very positive way,” said Ian.

Hosts and partners S&B Automotive, believe their own philosophy of creating an environment to encourage high quality engineering, has resulted in a fruitful partnership with IRTE and SOE.

“We have been partners for many years now. It works in line with the end-point assessment for the apprenticeships which is a good place for us. Technology is moving on at such a pace but, at S&B, we’re always pushing it on, and we’ll continue to support the Skills Challenge,” said S&B Director of Logistics and Support, Philip Marsh.

In creating a competition which represents a cross section of the industry, whilst promoting greater diversity, the Skills Challenge remains indebted to our many proponents: Allison Transmission, Alexander Dennis Limited, BAE Systems, Bridgestone, DVSA, Groeneveld, Knorr-Bremse, MAN, S&B Automotive, Shell and Teng Tools. All have made meaningful contributions in making the event such a success.

“Now we will start planning for next year’s competition, with the aim of expanding in numbers and reach. The demand for growth was very apparent this year and we will look to attract more teams and greater investment,” said Ian.

The awards ceremony take place at F1 Williams conference centre, in Oxfordshire, on July 13.

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