Next generation motor vehicle technicians from across the region showed off their expertise at an inter college competition designed to shine a light on good practice and industry skills.

The Cheshire and Warrington Skills Automotive Competition, hosted by Reaseheath College in Nantwich and supported by collaborating institutions, Warrington & Vale Royal College, Macclesfield College and Cheshire College South & West, brought together student teams to take on a demanding challenge which tested their practical skills and depth of knowledge.

The students, who were either apprentices or studying for a Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair, had to remove and replace a cylinder head gasket on a stand mounted engine and were also quizzed by a panel of professionals including Stephen Pope, Dismantling Team Leader at SYNETIQ, Crewe. They were judged on a range of skills including their use of technical data, use of tools and equipment, awareness of health and safety and on the overall quality of their work.

The winners were apprentices Louie Saunders and Luke Barron from Warrington & Vale Royal College, who were a few marks ahead of the other three teams in a very tightly fought contest. Reaseheath College was represented by Level 3 students Alexander Cooke and Daniel Bentley, Macclesfield College by Level 2 students James Curtin and Callum Wain, and Cheshire College South & West by Charlie Kettle and Joshua Stubbs, also Level 2 students.

The winners each received £100 vouchers donated by Halfords while the runners up prizes were sponsored by the Acorn Motor Group, which has award winning KIA dealerships across Cheshire, Staffordshire and Warrington and Macclesfield including KIA, MG and Suzuki locally in Crewe.

Presenting the prizes, James Quigley, Head of Business at the Acorn Motor Group said: “Part of our company’s ethos is to invest in and develop our people to insure they have the skills to move our business forward in this ever-evolving industry. It has been a privilege to be invited to this competition and to see the standard of young talent taking part. I am certain that we are seeing here the mechanics and engineers of the future.”

Reaseheath’s Engineering Curriculum Area Manager Savraj Bains said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity to work together with other colleges and employers from across the region to encourage young people to achieve their full potential through competition.

“We believe participation in skills competitions inspires young people to achieve excellence and raises their skills levels to meet employer needs. Our aim is to provide Cheshire students with improved employability and life changing opportunities, while employers will benefit from an increased pool of highly skilled individuals who will add value to their businesses and contribute to the wider region’s prosperity.

“The standard and effort made by all motor vehicle students and their colleges was extremely high and it was difficult for the judges to decide on the winners.”

Automotives is one of a number of categories in the Cheshire and Warrington Skills Competition, which are run by the collaborating colleges with the aim of developing industry skills, confidence and life experiences in students. Other categories include business, construction and hair and beauty.