From education to employment

2023 IMI Skills Competition winners announced

Biggest ever entry sees winners in all four UK nations

At its first in-person Skills Competition medal ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) announced the winners of its 2023 competition. With more than 600 nominations, the 2023 competition was the biggest yet, and included the highest proportion of those with hidden disabilities. 

Following a year-long application and assessment process, 23 winners and runners-up were chosen across four categories: Light Vehicle Technology, Body Repair, Refinishing and Heavy Vehicle. It was a close competition in all categories, but particularly close in Refinishing, where there were just 1.2 marks between 1st and 3rd place. Finalists may now be eligible to move forward to the World Skills International competition to be held in Lyon in September 2024.

“Despite the ongoing challenges across the sector, the IMI Skills Competition has been a huge success once again, highlighting some extraordinary talent from across the UK,” said Richard Hutchins, Competitions Manager at the Institute of the Motor Industry. “As an organisation committed to fostering equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging within the automotive industry, we are hugely encouraged by the increasing diversity of the nominees in recent years. The example these individuals set helps demonstrate that this industry has many roles suitable for those with physical and non-visible disabilities which may not be the general perception outside the sector.”

Having been nominated by their tutor or employer, each competitor completed an online quiz, took part in a one-day practical national qualifier and underwent training days and employer visits. The finalists then attended one of two venues, MAN Truck & Bus in Swindon or Tameside College in Manchester, for a two-day practical live final for World Skills UK. They completed their final six tasks in front of a team of volunteer judges.

The 2023 Winners

 EmployerCollege/Training Centre
Light Vehicle Technology
GOLD: Oliver YoungJ&R Auto ServicesPerth UHI
SILVER: Ryan CullenAL ServicesSouthwest College
BRONZE: Elliot RitchieWestern MazdaCalex UK
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Jack JohnstonJ&R Auto ServicesPerth UHI
RUNNER UP: Aaron PowellJ&J MotorsBosch Training Centre
RUNNER UP: Ashley HursleyAudi Approved ColchesterVolkswagen Group National Learning Centre
Body Repair
GOLD: Adrian MatthewsUltimate Accident Repair ServicesS&B Automotive Academy
SILVER: Robert GrayHowell Accident Repair CentreRiverpark Training
BRONZE: Alec MacleodHighland Motors ltdEdinburgh College Sitehill
RUNNER UP: Jordan LinghamSinclairsNPTC Pontardawe
RUNNER UP: Aiden CheethamThe Vella GroupBlackpool and the Fylde College
GOLD: Oisin MckerrPorters BodyshopSouthern Regional College
SILVER: Victoria SteeleSinclairsNPTC Pontardawe
BRONZE: Declan PhillipsBCA Fleet Solutions DoncasterGTA Doncaster
RUNNER UP: Lewis BrayfordBCA Fleet Solutions DoncasterGTA Doncaster
RUNNER UP: Thomas FearnheadAuto Spray DarwenTraining 2000
RUNNER UP: Maksim MakutonovicAM Motors Riverpark Training
Heavy Vehicle
GOLD: Ben TurnerHarris DAF High WycombeSkillnet
SILVER: Aleksander ZielechowskiPCL West Thurrock MANRemit Training
BRONZE: Harry CooperSparshatt Truck and VanSparshatt Academy
RUNNER UP: Joseph RobertsFife CouncilFife College
RUNNER UP: Nicholas GarrettSouth Tyneside CouncilGateshead College
RUNNER UP: Jack FittonScaniaScania Academy / Remit

Richard Hutchins continued:

“We are always impressed by the nominees’ skills in this competition; the determination and dedication is inspirational. It is also encouraging to see the growing diversity and increasing technical skill among apprentices and trainees, especially as we face an imminent skills crisis. 

“There is an urgent need to encourage more people to think about a career in automotive, and our campaign ‘There’s More to Motor’ aims to showcase the opportunities in automotive, improve perceptions and increase recruitment success. Our Skills Competition plays a valuable role in supporting that aim, as it clearly demonstrates the opportunities available and celebrates our diverse workforce.”

There are currently 218 occupations across the sector, with technological advances – from ADAS and electric to connected motoring and online sales – creating opportunities that go far beyond traditional perceptions of working in automotive. There’s More to Motor encourages real people working at all levels within the industry to share their story, helping to highlight opportunities for those who might not have considered automotive.

With thanks to Sponsors and Industry partners such as Redde Northgate plc / FMG repair services and support with essential materials from Glasurit, Morelli, 3M, Hinckley’s, Toyota, MAN truck and bus, DAF, Motus commercials, Scania, Wabco and many more. The Skills Competition development programmes are designed by industry experts. The programmes enhance the practical skills and knowledge taught on training courses by assessing an individual’s employability attributes against set criteria in a competitive timed environment. The programme has a real impact on those taking part, with 90% of previous entrants saying their career progression improved after competing, and 86% stating their personal and employability skills had improved.

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