Case study: Barry Illing MIMI
At the age of fifteen my two passions in life were motorbikes and working with tools. Against teachers’ advice I opted to leave school at the same age without sitting any exams. My Dad had connections with a local commercial vehicle garage in Cirencester and had arranged an interview for me with the service manager at the age of fourteen resulting in the start of my automotive career at fifteen.
At sixteen I started my four-year indentured apprenticeship and attended Swindon college one day per week. Now riding motorbikes and living the dream of training to be an automotive engineer I thought life could not be better. However, as a qualified fitter and listening to HGV drivers and transport managers I became interested in commercial fleet operations. I had a desire to manage the best road fleet in the UK and was inspired by a fictional television series “The Brothers” which was about a family run truck fleet.
Leaving the commercial vehicle garage and joining Cotswold District Council as a chargehand fitter I realised fleet work was something I really enjoyed. We had our own workshop and soon had a five-year first-time pass rate record with all HGV’s submitted for testing. At the age of 26 I was appointed Transport manager for the CDC. I am proud to say that we were one of the first local authorities to install reverse camera systems to our refuse vehicles that contributed towards improving road safety and reducing reversing accidents.
Approaching 36 years of age I wanted to work with a national road fleet and I subsequently joined British Rail road vehicle department. I was impressed with the railways structured document control system. I always believed that robust maintenance standards, comprehensive policy documents and trend monitoring were essential to successful engineering management. I enjoyed various roles within British Rail before being appointed National Road fleet manager for EWS railways. My ambition for improving results brought much success during my time at the railways, The first in 2001, Brake Fleet safety forum “Maintenance procedure award” followed by 2003 and 2006 Brake “Fleet safe vehicle maintenance” awards for excellence. Fleet News 2003 UK fleet of the year and Fleet News 2003 Fleet environmental award.
After these successful years I pursued my ambition of running my own compliance check company and assist clients with improving their road fleet maintenance and weight check results. Roadfleet Forte Ltd was created in 2007 and over the years, many hundreds of trucks and trailers were identified with vehicle weight and driver check compliance issues. I am so fortunate to have worked within an industry that I feel so passionate about.
I would encourage engineers within the automotive trade to join the IMI professional register to show case professionalism. I am also a supporter of the employment recognition scheme as it is a means of trade employers demonstrating competency to the general public. The IMI is greatly respected and known throughout the garage industry and associated trade suppliers. I am proud to be a member of the IMI family and embrace every opportunity to promote industry best practice.
In my opinion attaining IMI recognition in respect of relevant qualifications and experience has provided me with greater confidence. My membership card and titles are a constant reminder that I am an industry professional. These last few years have seen so much change within the motor industry from MOT test changes, cleaner fuel burning systems and electric vehicle technology. Full marks to the IMI who have kept us informed on these core topics and much more.
I would encourage engineers within the automotive trade to join the IMI professional register to show case professionalism. My membership card and titles are a constant reminder that I am an industry professional.