Thursday 21 October saw the 10th anniversary IRTE Skills Challenge awards ceremony and the announcement of the winners of this year’s anniversary event.
It was an opportunity to acknowledge the resilience of the industry as it pulled together to ensure a memorable event which each year works to raise the profile of the sector.
Sixty contestants from operators across the coach and bus sector, including Arriva, Brighton & Hove and Metrobus, East Yorkshire Buses, First Bus, Go-Ahead London, Go South Coast Morebus, Metroline, National Express and Trentbarton, competed in categories covering a variety of bodywork, electrical and mechanical disciplines.
Significantly, this year saw the introduction of the Mechelec category, open to apprentices on at least year three of training and testing joint mechanical and electrical skills. According to IRTE, the addition of the category reflects the industry’s growing need for multi-skilled technicians proficient in both electrical and mechanical disciplines.
The awards were introduced by new IRTE PCS Chair and Engineering Director at Stagecoach for more than 12 years Tony Cockroft. Presenting the awards was President of the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE) Adam Fraser-Hitchen.
Keynote speaker and Vice President at Women in Transport Marny Moruzzi, whose 20 years in the road transport industry saw her at a traffic control engineer for Transport for London and as Transport Strategy Manager on HS2 project, was also present to highlight the role of engineers and the IRTE Skills Challenge, and on the importance of inclusivity and attracting young talent into the industry.
The names of the winners and runners up in each category can be read in the winner’s brochure.
“There is no better place to see how the industry is progressing through its apprentices and technicians than at the IRTE Skills Challenge,” says Chief Executive Officer of SOE Bruce McGill. “As the sector is going through significant change, the competition will continue to adapt and give those technicians an environment to showcase their skills and demonstrate just what it takes to keep these vehicles on the road.
“Our sponsors, supporters and partners have stayed with us despite there being no competition last year, and we have continued to expand and grow as interest from industry remains strong. I would like to express our gratitude to them and our commitment to provide a platform to raise the profile of the sector in the years ahead.”