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All the latest news from the IMI Skill Auto competition


New sponsors get on board with IMI Skill Auto

The growth of the IMI Skillauto skills competitions continues to attract new sponsors with Mintex, Forte Lubricants, Electude and BT Fleet signing up to support the 2017 competition cycle.

“I’m delighted that these industry leading brands are supporting our search for excellence” says David Massie the IMI’s Skills Competition Manager, “not only are they assisting with vital resources needed to deliver our competition tasks, but providing funding to ensure our competitions continue to be the benchmark for the highest standard possible. We couldn’t do this without the backing of all our sponsors and are very grateful for their support.”

IMI Skill Auto now has over 40 sponsors and supporters, all seeing the benefit of engaging with IMI Skillauto and Worldskills competitions. At a time when our industry is seeing huge technological changes it has never been more critical that we attract bright young people and ensure that the appropriate skills and knowledge needed to address these changes are in place.

Scott Irwin, Technical Manager at Mintex Brakes stated, “Sponsoring IMI Skill Auto’s Worldskills competition not only promotes our brand, which is important of course, but it also provides an opportunity for Mintex to demonstrate to the future technicians and managers of our industry the benefits of selecting the best products and applying the highest standards in repair procedures, thus helping provide outstanding customer service. We are delighted therefor to partner with IMI to achieve these goals.”

If you’d like to be part of the drive for excellence then contact David at who’d be happy to discuss the possibilities with you. 


IMI Skill Auto finals 2016

The 2016 Skill Auto finals have come to a close at the Skills Show hosted at the NEC. Once again, it was a fantastic year of incredibly high standards with an amazing show of high-skilled trained finalists with a skills set that is of the highest calibre.

We had over 350 enter the online tests, 84 went through to the National Qualifiers and 24 got through to the final so to get to this point, all finalists should be incredibly proud to be within the top 6 in the UK.

The IMI would like to personally thank the competitors, judges and Skills Show staff for being a part of the event, without the competitors and judges, we wouldn’t have a competition, a competition that showcases the talents of apprentices and those in employment that shows the industry the talent of the future. Please see a list of our finalists and their colleges and employers. Thank you to all colleges and employers for allowing the time and support for each to compete.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to our dedicated sponsors. These sponsors provide industry leading equipment and supplies which allow our finalists to have experience with these brands.

Skill Auto Body Repair finalists (1st to 3rd place stated, other names in no particular order) –

  • (1st) Shawn Dyson (Chesterfield College, Employer: Chartwell)
  • (2nd) Lewis Owers (Thatchams, Employer: Nationwide Gladwins)
  • (3rd) Justin Mahon (Southern Regional College, Employer: Kevin Connolly Car Sales)
  • Hayden Forrester (Gateshead College, Employer: Excel Body Repairs)
  • Harry Devine (Chesterfield College, Employer: Body Motor Works)
  • Michael Sanlon (Transport Training Services, Employer: Trust Ford)


Skill Auto Refinishing finalists –

  • (1st) Michael Massey (Chesterfield College, Employer: Alton Cars Ltd)
  • (2nd) Christopher Jones (Cardiff and Vale College, Employer: Saintclairs Group)
  • (3rd) Theodoros Tsouknidas (Cardiff and Vale College, Employer: Nationwide Crash Repair Centre )
  • Tom Harris (Davies Motor Company, Employer: N/A)
  • Kirsty Ashley (Nova Training, Employer: Concept Refinishers Ltd)
  • Daniel Appleby (Training 2000 Limited, Employer: JD Macadam & Sons)


Skill Auto Technology finalists –

  • (1st) Harry Garraway (VW Group Apprentice Programme, Employer: Heritage VW Van Centre)
  • (2nd) Brett Gibson (Jaguar Land Rover Academy, Employer: Hatfields Land Rover)
  • (3rd) Eoin McCloskey (Northwest Regional College, Employer: Desmond Motors)
  • Walter McElroy (South West College, Employer: Western Cars)
  • Gareth Murphy (South West College, Employer: Carmanic)
  • Ryan Kane (South West College, Employer: Connellys Volkswagen)


Skill Auto Heavy Vehicle Engineering finalists –

  • (1st) Shaun Richards (Scania (GB) Ltd, Employer: Scania Heathrow)
  • (2nd) Dean Carter-Pilgrim (MAN/S&B Auto Academy, Employer: Cordwallis Heathrow)
  • (3rd) Shaun Cousins (DAF Trucks, City of Bristol College, Employer: Ford and Slater Leicester)
  • Jack Burt (Volvo/Stephenson College, Employer: Volvo Trucks (Broxburn))
  • Dominic Scott (Volvo/Stephenson College, Employer: Volvo Trucks (Enfield))
  • Taylor Yuill (Scania (GB) Ltd, Employer: Scania (Grangemouth))


IMI Skill Auto 2016 National Qualifiers concluded

The 2016 National Qualifiers of the IMI Skill Auto competition to find the best young talent in the sector have been completed.

A total of 78 young technicians participated in the live practical stages of the annual IMI Skill Auto competitions. Competitors from Automotive Technology, Body repair, Refinishing and Heavy Vehicle Engineering were challenged to complete a series of tasks during a number of one day heats at Jaguar Land Rover, Babcock Technical Academy, 3M Accident Repair Centre and Iveco Trucks. The top six competitors in each skill area will be announced later in July and will move forward to the WorldSkills UK national finals at The Skills Show in November.

"It was great to see the enthusiasm and passion expressed by this year’s competitors" said David Massie, the IMI’s Skill Auto Competition Manager. "Each of them will now be keeping their fingers crossed they have done enough to compete in the finals and perhaps take home a Gold medal.

This year saw the introduction of Heavy Vehicle Engineering into WorldSkills UK competitions for the first time. Sponsored by IRTE and the host venue provided by IVECO Trucks, competitors from several truck manufacturers and colleges experienced the pressures of competing against their peers and testing their skills and knowledge. Chris Carter, lead judge for Heavy Vehicle Engineering commented "We’ve made a great start in this the first full year of a HV competition and I look forward to seeing it grow and develop into a key part of the training calendar."

Watch out for the announcement of our 24 finalists later this month.


IMI SkillAuto judges selected for Worldskills duties

Worldskills UK recently appointed three of the IMI SkillAuto judges as International Training Managers for the Team UK squads who compete at Worldskills International competitions, the next of which is in Abu Dhabi next year.

  • Richard Hutchins, IMI SkillAuto Lead Judge for Automotive Refinishing and Course Tutor at Cardiff & Vale College.
  • William McIlwraith, IMI SkillAuto Judge and technical adviser for Automotive Technology and lecturer at Warwickshire College
  • Chris Carter, IMI SkillAuto Lead Judge for Heavy Vehicle Engineering and Volvo Apprenticeship lecturer at Stephenson College
  • Fraser Minskip from EMTEC College Nottingham continues in his role looking after the Body Repair squad.

“We are all thrilled that Richard, Willie and Chris have been successful in their bid to lead the automotive squads in Team UK” said David Massie, IMI’s Skills Competition Manager “They have each contributed so much to the Worldskills UK national competitions run under the IMI SkillAuto banner and their skill, knowledge and experience in making them such a success has been recognised in these appointments. I’m confident that they will develop some strong contenders for Gold medals in Abu Dhabi next year and Russia in 2019.”

The 2016 IMI SkillAuto competition cycle is underway with the national qualifier rounds taking place in May and June before the national finals at The Skills Show in November. Competitors who successfully take part in IMI SkillAuto can progress to the Worldskills UK squads where they receive intensive training and preparation to the UK on the international stage.

For more information visit


IMI highly commended as Organising Partner of the Year by WorldSkills UK

The IMI Skill Auto team were highly commended by WorldSkills UK in recognition of their work as Competition Organising Partners for WorldSkills UK.

Designed to raise standards in industry and training in over 60 skill areas, WorldSkills UK Competitions enable apprentices and learners to develop their technical and personal skills, while employers can use the competitions to benchmark their apprenticeship and training programmes with organisations throughout the UK.

Skill Auto delivered a highly successful competition cycle in 2015 including managing the competition finals which were held at The Skills Show. The high standard of the competition resulted in 9 competitors being selected by Find a Future to train as part of Squad UK for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.


IMI Skill Auto revs up!

Registration for the IMI Skill Auto competitions opens on 1st March as the search for our 2016 UK champions begins.

The finishing flag has barely fallen on last years exciting competition cycle and we are on the starting grid again, ready for the race to Gold at the Skills Show in November. Entrants can register at the Worldskills website here and start the process off from 9:00 am on 1st March until 5:00pm on 7th April. Last year saw 300 entries, with over 60 individuals making it through to the practical heats stages and 18 highly talented finalists taking part in the UK national finals.

If you believe you have the skills, knowledge and commitment to be the best, then enter IMI Skill Auto and step up to the challenge. Regardless of the outcome you will stretch yourself, have an experience you’ll never forget and gain so much along the way.

So, as the man says, Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines ………………..


Skill Auto World Skills selection for Abu Dhabi 2017

The 2015 finals of the IMI Skillauto national competitions held at the NEC in November were also the squad selection event for a team of young people who will prepare for the world competitions in Abu Dhabi in 2017. The 9 young automotive apprentices below won their place after a hard two days of competition and now begin an intense training programme to hone their skills as well as mind and body in preparation for representing their country against the best in the world.

  • Automotive Technology:              Seamus Goodfellow
  • Automotive Body Repair:             Daniel Baker, Andrew Gault, Andrew McLure, Andrew Spiers
  • Automotive Refinishing:               Rory Clague, Daryll Head, Jonathon McNaugher, Kyle Saunders

We will follow their progress with interest and everyone at IMI Skill Auto wishes them all well.


IMI Skill Auto 2015 heads for the NEC

The IMI Skill Auto heats are now complete and the finalists who will compete at The Skills Show in November have been identified. (see list below)

The heats were hosted during May and June at the Jaguar Landrover Academy, 3M’s Accident Repair Training Centre and Eyebox Training and Conference Centre. 62 young technicians, from an initial entry of almost 300, were selected to compete in a series of one day heats where they demonstrated their skills and knowledge carrying out practical tasks in their chosen area of Body Repair, Vehicle Refinishing or Automotive Technology.

The top 6 in each skill area now go forward to the national finals held as part of the Skills Show at the NEC from 19th to 21st November where they will need to up their game as they face even tougher challenges in order to be crowned UK champion and receive the Gold medal.

There is also an added incentive in that this year’s finals will also be the selection event for the squad who will prepare for the international competition to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Well done to everyone who took part in the heats and congratulations to our finalists. Good luck in November!

Automotive Refinishing

  • Jonathan McNaugher - Nigel Whanns ARC & Riverpark Training 
  • Jake Brewster - Joe's 8Ball & Chesterfield College
  • Adam Litchfield - NSW Accident Repair Centre & Cardiff and Vale College
  • Joe Hughes - P&R Motors & Cardiff and Vale College
  • Alex Neagle - P&R Motors & Cardiff and Vale College
  • Kyle Saunders - Full time student at Coleg Gwent


Automotive Body Repair

  • Daniel Baker - Chartwells & BMW
  • Andrew McClure - Wrights Accident Repair Centre & Riverpark Training
  • Andrew Spiers - Wrights Accident Repair Centre & Riverpark Training
  • Andrew Gault - Glenn Allen Car Body Repair & Riverpark Training
  • Leon Smith - Renovate Body Repairs & Cardiff and Vale College
  • Matthew Barnicott - Birmingham Garage & Colleg Llandrillo Menai


Automotive Technology

  • Connor McGaughey - South West College, Omagh & Kelly's Garage
  • Seamus Goodfellow - South West College, Omagh & Ballina Car Auto Repair
  • Brett Gibson - Jaguar Land Rover & Hatfield LR Pickering
  • Aaron Cousins - South Eastern Regional College & Halfords
  • Ben Brown - North Warwickshire and Hinckley College
  • Scott Thompson - South West College-Enniskillen & Wilsons Garage


Worldskills International team selections

Following a period of intensive training and assessment the selection of the team to represent the UK in Sao Paulo, Brazil later this year has been made. 41 of the country’s most skilled young people will compete in 37 skills in the world competition and the automotive representatives are:

  • Automotive Technology : Elijah Sumner, Halfords, Cardiff
  • Automotive Body Repair: Ryan Jones, Just Car Clinic, Hinckley
  • Car Painting: Rebecca Wilson, CM Accident Repair Centre, Belfast

We look forward to following their progress and wish everyone success in the competition.


IMI Skill Auto judge assists land speed record attempt!

 IMI Skill Auto Refinishing judge and technical advisor, Simon Evans, has been selected by the Bloodhound Project to carry out the critical task of preparing and painting the bodywork of the jet powered vehicle which will attempt to set a new land speed record and achieve 1000mph.

The Bloodhound SSC Project led by Sir Richard Noble is inspiring the next generation of engineers by bringing science, technology, engineering and mathematics to life in the most exciting way possible.

Simon is a specialist vehicle painter and has been involved in the preparation of many custom vehicles featured in movies and tv programmes. He was the car painting technical supervisor for the WorldSkills International competition held in London in 2011 and has been involved with helping deliver the IMI Skill Auto automotive refinishing competitions since 2012. Simon will be drawing on his skills and knowledge to ensure the paint finish on Bloodhound is as perfect as the engineering needed to power it.

To find out more visit:


Supporting IMI Skill Auto competitions

Long time Gold sponsors Wurth UK and Morelli Group have confirmed their continued support of the 2015 IMI Skill Auto competitions and will support the delivery of the upcoming heats in May and June as well as the UK national finals in November.

Speaking about their sponsorship David Massie the IMI’s Competition Manager said “Everyone involved with the Skill Auto competition is delighted to have both of these long standing partners return for another competition cycle. Without the backing of our sponsors with tools, equipment and materials, as well as much needed cash support, we would not be able to deliver the high quality competition our sector expects and deserves. It’s testament to the value they see in being involved with Skill Auto that both Wurth UK and Morelli Group  continue to invest in the development of young people working within our industry and for that we are very grateful”

Andrew Moring, Marketing Director at Morelli Group was recently presented with an award at the IMI’s annual dinner for his work in supporting the IMI Skill Auto competitions.

If you would also like to be involved with sponsorship of the competitions and helping promote careers in automotive, contact David who will be more than happy to discuss how you might be able to assist in delivering of the UK’s premier competition for young people training in the automotive industry.


IMI Skill Auto judge highly commended

IMI Skill Auto lead judge for Automotive Body Repair, Stuart Alexander, was highly commended after receiving a nomination for Worldskills UK Judge of the Year. The award went to Dave Brooker for many years of service to the electrical installation competitions.  Also nominated was Automotive Refinishing judge Simon Evans.


Babcock to support IMI Skill Auto

The IMI are delighted to announce that Babcock Technical Academy have joined  the drive to find the very best young technicians in the country and will host the 2016 heats for the Automotive Body Repair competition at their facilities in Milton Keynes.


The Skill Auto competitions are kindly sponsored by IMI, Morelli Group, Matco Tools,  IRTE, Car-O-Liner UK and GTG Training.

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