Opinion Former Article

SOE: IRTE Skills Challenge to find top bus technicians

An exciting nationwide skills competition, aimed directly at engineers from the bus and coach industry, was launched today [3 November 2010] by the IRTE (Institute of Road Transport Engineers) during the Euro Bus Expo.

The IRTE Skills Challenge will see operators, big and small, from across the UK pit their technicians against each other in a bid to see them crowned highest scoring electrical, mechanical or bodywork engineers. There will also be further awards to highlight which operator's team achieve overall engineering success. In total, six awards will celebrate and recognise the vital contribution of PCV technicians.

Sponsored by Allison Transmission, Bridgestone, Cummins, Knorr-Bremse and Shell FuelSave Diesel, the competition already has a number of operators signed up. Set to be a dynamic event, the IRTE Skills Challenge demonstrates the importance and celebrates the competence of the people who keep the industry moving.

A Professional Sector of SOE (Society of Operations Engineers), IRTE is one of the most respected names in UK transport, supporting the development of engineering professionals - from apprentices to company directors - in the light and heavy vehicle and bus and coach sectors.

SOE President Chris Grime led senior IRTE representatives in launching the IRTE Skills Challenge to the industry and press. The event was also attended by the sponsors, as well as operators whose technicians are already signed up to compete.

SOE President Chris Grime said:
"The IRTE Skills Challenge represents the IRTE's key aims: to support, recognise and reward competence. Engineering professionals are an essential part of society and none more so than those technicians working on buses. Without their vital contribution, millions of people across the country would not get to school, to work, or to see family and friends. Quite simply, the country could not operate without their skills. This competition highlights the entire industry and truly celebrates the people behind the scenes making the travel we take for granted happen."

To take part in the IRTE Skills Challenge, individual technicians should register at www.soe.org.uk. The IRTE will send the details of those interested to operators, who will then select the technicians they wish to enter the electrical, mechanical and bodywork sectors of the competition. The practical elements of the challenge will take place at City College Coventry, and will be based upon the IRTE's technician licensing scheme, irtec. Finally, winners will be announced during a prestigious reception at the Houses of Parliament in June 2011.

SOE Business Development Manager Will Reeves said:
"The IRTE is passionate about assisting the industry to develop, meeting the challenges of skills shortages and exceeding public expectation. We believe this Skills Challenge is long overdue and are certain that it will not only lead to greater recognition of individual success and operator excellence, but will raise the profile of the entire sector."

IRTE supports the careers of new and experienced engineers. Members receive industry-leading technical magazine, Transport Engineer, including exclusive Bus & Coach Engineer supplements. Further benefits include post-nominal letters, training and career support, free technical events, an online resource and the opportunity for Engineering Council registration at EngTech, IEng or CEng level.

Full details of the IRTE Skills Challenge, including a timetable of events, are available online at www.soe.org.uk/irteskills.




For more information and to register, visit www.soe.org.uk/irteskills.

For media enquiries, please contact:
David Jones
020 7630 1111

IRTE (Institute of Road Transport Engineers)
A Professional Sector of SOE (Society of Operations Engineers), IRTE is one of the most respected names in UK transport. Founded in 1944, the IRTE is recognised as an impartial voice of the industry. It encourages high standards of excellence with an emphasis on safety in operation, demonstrated by its research and education programme for members and industry. The IRTE is also a partner in the CV Show, alongside the RHA and SMMT.
IRTE members come from a wide variety of transport-related roles including apprentices and technicians in the light and heavy and bus and coach sectors, workshop managers, fleet engineers, transport managers and company directors.

SOE (Society of Operations Engineers)
SOE is a professional membership organisation that represents around 17,000 individuals and companies in the engineering industry. The SOE has three professional sectors - IRTE, IPlantE and BES (see below for more details). The Society promotes safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable operations engineering to the benefit of the community at large, through the support of best practice and health and safety initiatives, a commitment to the professional development of its members and by influencing legislation and design. SOE is a licensed member of the Engineering Council and can register members at all three levels, CEng, IEng and EngTech.
The SOE is online at www.soe.org.uk

irtec (the 'I' should always be in lower case) is a renewable voluntary testing and assessment scheme that certifies theoretical and practical skills of PCV, Heavy Goods and light commercial vehicle technicians.

An irtec Licence proves commitment to safety and professional development by technicians and employers alike. irtec licences are awarded at three levels, depending on the candidate's skill and experience Once an irtec licence is issued, the technician is listed on a national register and bound by a code of conduct. The licence is valid for 5 years, after which the licence holder must undergo reassessment for renewal.

Further details are available from the irtec website at www.soe.org.uk.

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