Engineering talent sought for IRTE contest

By Categories: Commercial NewsPublished On: Friday 19 January 2024

The IRTE Bus & Coach Skills Challenge returns for its 12th anniversary this year, a national competition where ambitious PSV engineers, technicians and apprentices from across the bus and coach sector meet at the S&B Automotive Academy in Bristol and put their skills to the test in a variety of challenges.

Since its origin, the Skills Challenge, organised by the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) in partnership with S&B Automotive Academy, has witnessed over 650 aspiring technicians take part, providing them with a platform to test their skills across electrical, mechanical and bodyworks, push their limits, and rise to the challenge.

This year, the Skills Challenge takes on a new dimension with the introduction of a new optional category featuring new technology. According to IRTE, this addition to the competition will allow competitors to embrace the future of transportation, gain hands-on experience with cutting-edge innovations, and showcase their adaptability in a rapidly evolving industry.

“The IRTE Skills Challenge is focusing on existing and future technologies,” said Richard Belton, operations director at S&B Automotive Academy.

“We want to show the development of skills within the industry and the high levels that are attainable. The skills challenge has not forgotten about safety and the everyday skills that technicians and body repairers need for the industry, but we will also be adding in a new category for those people that have more experience in the advancing technologies side of the business.

“This will encompass the whole range of new fuels and propulsion systems within the bus and coach and so will test further the advancing skill levels in the industry.”

The competition is open to operators of all sizes with everyone welcome. Last year saw entries from some of the leading operators such as Arriva, First Bus and Go Ahead, alongside regional companies Lothian and Trentbarton.

“The IRTE Skills Challenge isn’t just celebrating excellence, it’s redefining it,” said Oliver Teasell, membership and registration manager at IRTE parent body SOE.

“By challenging the status quo and embracing new technologies, we’re not just testing skills, we’re empowering the next generation to thrive in an environment where innovation and alternative fuels to power public transport will become essential.”

Further IRTE initiatives include its irtec and Workshop accreditation schemes, which are recognised as industry standards.

“These initiatives set the benchmark for excellence in bus and coach technical expertise, ensuring that the industry is equipped with the most skilled and competent professionals,” said the organisation.

Entries are open now for the IRTE Bus & Coach Skills Challenge 2024.