Rising to the IRTE Skills Challenge

Bus technicians have been competing in the IRTE Skills Challenge in Bristol recently. The event is now in its fourth year and according to the organisers is growing steadily. It sees technicians from operators across the country showcase their abilities in a series of electrical, bodywork and mechanical tests. Some 60 technicians and apprentices from Abellio, Arriva, FirstGroup, Go Ahead London, Go South Coast, London United, Metroline, Preston Bus, Tower Transit and Translink took part in this year’s event.

The tests were devised with the help of sponsors Allison Transmission, Bridgestone, Knorr-Bremse and Shell Lubricants, and event host S&B Automotive Academy. They included everything from transmission oil level checks, tyre damage assessment and disc brake inspection, to viscosity assessment, MIG welding, riveting, ABS measurement and electrical fault finding. Testing was greatly assisted by the donation of buses by vehicle supporters Abellio, MAN and Mercedes-Benz.

For the first time this year the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) also contributed a test. Chief Executive of DVSA, Alastair Peoples, said, ‘I am delighted to be able to support the IRTE Skills Challenge. We wanted the test to be challenging, and we designed it to be as close to the real thing as possible. I look forward to seeing the results on 17 July.’

Deputy Chief Executive of S&B Automotive Academy, Richard Belton, said, ‘The standards being set by the candidates at IRTE Skills Challenge 2014 are excellent. The tests devised by the sponsors focused on the key skills that technicians need to operate successfully. It’s about going back to the basics as no manufacturers’ diagnostics are allowed; the competitors need to follow a logical process to work out what is wrong. This year’s addition of the test from DVSA has also added industry credibility to the competition, and it definitely made some of the competitors more nervous!’

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 17 July.


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