Meet the Skills Competitions winners – Oliver Young


The IMI Skills Competitions aim to identify the most talented young apprentices working in the automotive sector. Last November the finalists came together to find out who would take home gold.

In the Light Vehicle Technology group it was Oliver Young who took home gold. The UHI Perth and J&R Autos Services talent took time out of his schedule to tell us why he wanted to join the automotive industry and why classic cars could be his future…

Why did you want to work in the automotive industry?

Growing up I was always around vehicles, from motorbikes to classic cars. My dad was a big influence as we were always in his garage working on some sort of project. From a young age, classic cars have been an interest of mine, so when I passed my driving test I was keen to get one of my own. Over the course of a couple years I bought two classic Mini projects during which I gained a lot of knowledge that definitely had an impact on my work.

I started helping out a few days a week at a local garage where I learned lots. We worked on everything from boats to HGVs. This really helped me develop a good basic knowledge of mechanics. I then moved to a larger garage that focussed mainly on light vehicles. I realised I much preferred light vehicles and this helped my decision to start an apprenticeship in this field.

How did you find your apprenticeship (what's been most interesting and what's been most challenging)?

I have thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship and as my ability has improved I’ve had the opportunity to try most aspects of the trade. I enjoy engine work the most, it's always interesting to strip and inspect potential faults in an engine block.

Electrics have always been a challenge for me, I didn't have much experience with them before my apprenticeship, so learning has been a slow process and has required a bit more work. But I’m always keen to learn new things and I try my best to continue to learn even after my apprenticeship.

What was it like competing in the IMI Skills Competitions finals?

I really enjoyed the whole experience. It gave me a great insight into larger dealership-type training. This was new to me as I have always learned on the job in smaller independent garages. The team of organisers and judges made us all feel so welcomed and comfortable – this helped a lot when some of the tasks were quite nerve-wracking.

How did it feel to take home gold?

I was so happy to get first place. I was surprised to be honest because the other competitors were all very good. I knew it would be a close competition after meeting everyone. I am glad my hard work paid off and it motivates me to continue and improve.

Where do you want your career to take you?

I feel I’m fairly young so I still don't really know where I want my career to take me yet. For now, I am enjoying working as a light vehicle mechanic in an independent garage and I will continue to learn and hone my skills. Maybe in the future I will choose to specialise on a specific aspect of mechanics, or potentially try focussing on classic cars.

Time to find out more about the IMI Skills Competitions? See how you could be part of the search for the top talent in the sector