Plans are well underway for this year’s IRTE Skills Challenge with entries already coming in and sponsors lending their support to the industry’s premier showcase of new technical talent.

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Event partner S&B Automotive Academy, one of the country’s leading providers of automotive training & assessment services, is once again backing the event and will be hosting it at its Bristol HQ.

The challenge sees the sector’s engineering stars compete in a series of electrical, mechanical and bodywork challenges to find the best in bus & coach.

Knorr-Bremse, a major supplier of braking systems and ther safety-critical rail and commercial vehicle equipment, has also come on board as the latest sponsor to back the Skills Challenge once again. Carl Dibble, Training & Technical TL at Knorr-Bremse,
said that supporting the annual event is the perfect way for the supplier to demonstrate its commitment to safety – and its commitment to today’s and tomorrow’s technicians and apprentices.

He said: “We’ve always worked closely with the bus companies in the UK. We want to support them and we want to make sure they are maintaining our products to a high standard. That ensures safety for everybody working on the vehicles and obviously everyone using these vehicles.”

S&B Operations Director Richard Belton, meanwhile, said that training & development is something that never stands still as employers of all sizes across the sector keep one eye on the future while keeping their business safely on the road today.

Richard, who was awarded the Philip Margrave Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2023, said: “We’re all about developing talent and looking to the future – and that means investing in training as well as in existing and innovative technologies.

“Year after year, the Skills Challenge showcases the technical talent that continues to emerge across the sector. We’re delighted to be a partner for the event as we, too, are committed to training, developing and assessing the apprentices and technicians of
the future.” Craig Perkins, Engineering Apprenticeship Manager at National Express and recipient of the IRTE Skills Challenge Master Technician award in 2023, said the competition is a must-attend for his teams.

He said: “The competition shows the level required to be at the top of your trade. Apprentices can see areas that they may need to develop, and for experienced engineers, it can also get your brain working on things you may not have seen for some time. 

“Also, being in the competition with other people from different companies allowed us to communicate about our different ways of working. It helps share knowledge and ideas which can improve you as a person and help the company you work for grow in the way it operates.” 

Applications for this year’s event are now open and the Testing Week itself takes place at S&B’s HQ in Bristol on 5-9 June. If you are interested in entering this year's challenge follow the link here.