As the IMI Skills Competitions 2021 final draws near we wanted to introduce you to these 6 individuals who have been nominated, taken an online test, scored highly enough to sit an online exam and made it through to be the top 6 in the UK for Body Repair! This rising starts of future taken will compete in 6 tasks over 2 days at Cardiff and vale College in just two weeks time.
Craig has always been fascinated with cars and had a friend who he started a Saturday job with to get into the industry which led into employment. In the future he would like to become fully qualified and be the best of the best. The competition has been pretty straight forward so far and the fact that he had been nominated made him feel quite good as they had belief in him. During the pandemic he was still working after being furloughed for a few months’ time.
This is a family business stared 44 years ago by Nigel and is based in Ballymena in Norther Ireland. They employ 16 staff with 12 on the floor. They mainly work with insurance companies and insurance approval up to larger vans. They focus on quality of product and riven to keep standard, retain staff and rely on heavily on their strong reputation in area which they are proud of and work to maintain it.
The pandemic meant their business model had to change from high street insurance companies to online, they invested in software and training and it pushed them to tighten areas they didn’t realise were lose and gave them a plan for the future. Through the pandemic, and whilst the apprentices were on furlough, they pushed heavily in training and development to come out stronger. They are focused on future proofing the business with 4 1st year apprentices, as it is difficult to get fully qualified staff. Each Panel Technician in their business has an apprentice working alongside them.
They are thrilled about the competition as it means the business are competing at a high level with River Park Training centre being an external training benchmark for industry. They believe this will support Craig’s self-confidence to be at that level and also improve his professional and personal growth with travel and training. They said Craig was hardworking and sets the standard for everyone else, he is now not the new guy and has stepped up to show leadership and professionalism with the introduction of new apprentices.
Tiler was excited about the industry but initially chose Public Services at college. He changed careers as he wanted to earn money and start a career. He isn’t sure yet what the future holds but enjoys competitions and said it has been interesting so far and exciting to be able to excel in something.
Tiler 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 whilst no insurance work was there. Tiler really enjoyed this and said that older vehicles were simpler to work on but messier.
Steve Gittins @BodyPerfect
Steve started as an apprentice in the industry. Body Perfect employs 38 staff and mostly undertake insurance work but also have MOT bays and tyres so essentially are a one stop shop for accident repair. They also have an affiliation with Bentley who use their premises to undertake apprenticeship training, they are also currently turning an outbuilding into a dedicated training facility.
They have previously had success in the Welsh competitions with three from the last 5 years winning Gold. Focused on succession planning, they recruit apprentices each year. They have found it difficult to employ a qualified technician as others hold onto them and pay them well so they grow their own to secure their future with the right apprentices. Steve praised Tiler’s attitude which he saw straight away on leaving school with great skills and qualities especially his diligence.
Lewis worked in a chippy over the pandemic, opening and closing up for the previous 5 years whilst studying full time at college. It was his fellow competitor, Joel, who got him a job at the same place he works. There is already some friendly competition between the two with Lewis coming 1st in the Welsh competition and Joel a close 2nd. He has also recently completed his full time qualification and now works full time.
Lewis enjoyed his training day at Car-O-Liner and said it was informative, helpful and really interesting especially seeing all the new technology and equipment.
Barrie Thomas @Smart Body Shop Solutions
Their employer said he has the upmost respect for his two employees and he gets it back, they have good working relationships and he is proud of them. Whilst young people can have a bad reputation these two are different. The business was formed in January 2020 and mainly works with fleet vehicles and has contracts with Amazon, Enterprise etc. meaning that when the pandemic hit they grew rapidly. They are about to open their fourth site in the UK soon.
Joel came 2nd in the Wales competition and actually was the one who recruited Leis into his role. Joel currently works early shifts from 4am to 3pm getting work ready for apprentices which means he gets up at about 3am every day!
Barrie Thomas @Smart Body Shop Solutions
Their employer said he has the upmost respect for the two employees and he gets it back, they have good working relationships and he is proud of them. Whilst young people can have a bad reputation these two are different.
The business was formed in January 2020 and mainly works with fleet vehicles and has contracts with Amazon, Enterprise etc. meaning that when the pandemic hit they grew rapidly. They are about to open their fourth site in the UK soon.
Worked Harry works with his father and actually worked for the full day before traveling to training day arriving at 10.30pm. He did say ‘I couldn’t speed as it was raining’ which we were relieved about. Harry loves to compete and is excited about what’s to come.
@Andrew Cooper Car Body Repairs
IMI Skills Competitions 2022
To find out how you could be a part of the IMI Skills Competitions in 2022 click here https://www.theimi.org.uk/landing/imi-skills-competitions/