Apprentices and technicians from across the country are gearing up for this year’s IRTE Skills Challenge – and the competition is heating up as the best in coach and bus get ready to show the judges just what they can do.

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

Engineering’s stars of today and tomorrow will be competing there in a series of electrical, mechanical and bodywork tests as the bus and coach sector looks to a bright future.

Past winners at the Challenge are already enjoying the boost to their careers that the competition offers – and they are sure that other apprentices and technicians should take up the gauntlet. 

Kyran Taylor of East Yorkshire Buses – Winner of the DVSA Inspection Apprentice Award in 2022 – said that his win has given him the perfect platform to take his career to the next level.

Kyran said: “It was really interesting because I came across – and worked with – a lot of new components during the challenge and I’ll be using them on the new buses and coaches of the future. I wasn’t actually expecting to win and it was a bit of a shock when my name was announced but I put a lot of effort into my work, and I’ve had some great people behind me. It’s definitely a confidence-booster for the future.”

His colleague at East Yorkshire Buses, Danielle Curtis, took home the award for Top Scoring Electrical Apprentice. Danielle knows  all about success, having also been a winner in 2021.

She said: “This is the second year where I’ve competed and it’s the second year that I’ve won! I really enjoy it and it will definitely help me to progress after my apprenticeship.”

Suppliers and manufacturers, too, are fully behind the Challenge as it continues to shine a spotlight on the knowledge, talent and competitiveness that makes the sector what it is today.

Carl Wilson, Head of Sales at Filtration Control, said: “There’s a lot of knowledge on show and the engineers really enjoy coming to the event. It’s certainly a part of the future, that’s for sure.”

Knorr-Bremse, a major supplier of braking systems and their safety-critical rail and commercial vehicle equipment, is another sponsor that is backing the Skills Challenge once again.

S&B Operations Director Richard Belton, meanwhile, said that hosting the event is crucial as training & development is something that never stands still .

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.