The hunt is on to find the UK’s best automotive glazing technician. Following a series of regional heats, six finalists will compete for the title of UK Master Fitter 2012 at the national Skills Show taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, in November.
Now in its third year, UK Master Fitter is part of WorldSkills UK, which runs a portfolio of national and international skills competitions for young people and adults, designed to showcase talent in vocational skills across many different industries. WorldSkills UK is managed by the National Apprenticeship Service, in partnership with organisations from industry and education.
UK Master Fitter is open to all experienced installers of automotive glass and participation is free of charge. This year, some forty technicians will compete at seven regional finals in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland with the top six overall scores going forward to the final. Competitors will be required to repair and replace a windscreen and replace a side and rear window, within a specified timeframe, under the watchful eye of the UK Master Fitter judging team.
Co-ordinated by official partner, the Independent Windscreen Academy (IWA), which is providing administration and training assistance, UK Master Fitter is being organised by a consortium of industry partners. These include: AA Autowindshields, Auto Windscreens, Dow, Esprit Windscreen Systems, GQA, Laddaw, Master Auto Glass, Nationwide Windscreen Services, National Windscreens, Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Sika and Proskills. The competition is being sponsored by AGC, Dow, Sika and Kimberly-Clark Professional, the latter a market leader in commercial health, hygiene and safety products.
Commenting on the launch of UK Master Fitter 2012, Neil Robinson, Chair of the organising committee, said: “Automotive glazing is a technology all of its own and technicians are required to have extremely complex skill sets. UK Master Fitter aims to be a champion for recognising their talent and highlighting the sector as an important industry to the economy. Being part of WorldSkills UK will showcase automotive glazing to a wider audience and help our campaign to attract young people into the industry as apprentices.”
Speaking about its involvement in the competition for the first time, Nathan Bennett, EMEA Key Account Manager Automotive, Kimberly-Clark Professional, said: “As a leading global supplier of wiping and safety products to the automotive glass industry, we are delighted to be on board as sponsors in 2012. We place the needs of technicians at the heart of every innovation we bring to market, so by being involved with UK Master Fitter it allows us to build on this understanding, which really helps us design products to make their jobs safer and more efficient. Our very best of luck to all the finalists.”
Regional heats will take place at the following venues:
Transport Training Services, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, June 21
City of Bristol College, June 27
Motherwell College, Scotland. July 4
Auto Windscreens, Chesterfield, July 12-14
Independent Windscreen Academy, Essex, July 16-17
National Windscreens, Basildon, Essex, July 18-19
AA Autowindshields, Melton Mowbray, July 25-26
The final and awards ceremony of UK Master Fitter will take place at the Skills Show in Birmingham at the NEC on November 16-17.
For more information: www.ukmasterfitter.co.uk