Finding the stars of the future at the IMI Skills Competitions

World Skills

This year’s IMI Skills Competitions brought together the most talented automotive apprentices together under one roof to see who would come out on top

Battling it out 400 students and apprentices across 64 disciplines worked incredibly hard to be crowned national skills champions at this year’s IMI Skills Competitions and the chance to represent the UK at the WorldSkills event. 

The event threw the spotlight on the most talented young automotive apprentices, helping raise standards, esteem and levels of expertise in technical skills right across the sector. 

Everyone taking part had to complete a 30 minute multiple choice quiz with the top scorers invited to sit an online knowledge test in the National Qualifiers which took place over the summer. The final 24 hard-working automotive apprentices were then selected from the qualifiers to take part in the WorldSkills competition. 

Those that competed at the event are some of the best and brightest in the country…

Heavy vehicles

Andrew Hill has always been a hands on type of person. His love for working on heavy vehicles came from working with his uncle through his youth, before getting a job at Motus Commercials and studying a Level 3 in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance at Bristol College. He said: “In my eyes no job offers the same satisfaction I get from repairing broken down vehicles. I feel lucky to have got this far, it’s been challenging but I am overjoyed to have a place in the final.”

Abhaydeep Singh Gulati works for Ford and Slater while also studying at Bristol college. 

“I’m a hands on type of person and I don’t like to sit in one spot all day, I’m also a technical person so I thought that the automotive industry is was the best option for me,” he said

Hill and Gulati were joined at the skills competition by:

  • Mark McAdams – Fife Council
  • Daniel Parker – Adams Morey Ltd
  • Daniel Buckingham – Skillnet
  • Jignesh Khimani – Skillnet

Body Repair

Aiming for glory in the Automotive Body Repair section were six of the brightest stars of the future: 

  • Lewis Hastings from Cardiff and Vale College
  • Harry Cooper from Cardiff and Vale College
  • Joel Windsor from Cardiff and Vale College
  • Craig Kernohan from Riverpark Training
  • Simon Sloan from Riverpark Training
  • Tiler Moorcroft-Jones from Riverpark Training

It’s been a tough time for many of the contestants, the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted a lot of the work they would have been doing. But they’ve shown resilience and determination to battle through.

Moorcroft- Jones was furloughed for a while however his employer wanted to keep the apprentices’ practical skills and learning in check so brought them back to undertake restoration work on a number of client’s vehicles while no insurance work was there. 

Automotive Technology

Working towards glory in the Light Vehicle Automotive Technology finals were six apprentices looking to shine.

From Olly Brown who was made redundant during the pandemic but worked hard to find his next opportunity. He proactively reached out to Lazante, a company that doesn’t usually take on apprentices but through that the way he conducted himself they gave him a chance.

Brown was joined in the competition by:

  • Luke Merchant from Weston College 
  • Alexander Mills from Babcock Training Ltd
  • Liam Ward from True Test Motors Limited
  • Ian Robertson from Fife College
  • Damian Tchorzewski from Edinburgh College

Body Refinishing

There were some immense skills on show in the refinishing section of the competition with competitors showing how much the talent is coming through in the next-generation of apprentices.

Among them was Stephen Halsall who’s studying multi-skilled accident repair at The Blackpool and Fylde College, he also works for The Vella Group too. Halsall said he joined the industry as he has a passion for cars and anything motor related and sees a bright future for the sector: “I also believe the accident repair industry has great growth potential over the next few decades.”

Halsall was competing against:

  • Ryan Lowrey from Blackpool and The Fylde College
  • Sion Lewis  from Cardiff and Vale College
  • Tom Venn from Cardiff and Vale College
  • Callum Roberts from Cardiff and Vale College
  • Dominic Duance from Cardiff and Vale College

Winners will be announced in a live stream on 26th November at 4pm by Steph McGovern along with the other WorldSkills UK competitions that have been happening all week.  Some of them may also make it onto the Team UK squad and potentially be able to complete at an international level in Shanghai in 2022.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Find out how you could be a part of the IMI Skills Competitions in 2022.