Top young performers in automotive refinishing competed at the 3M Automotive Refinish Centre (ARC) for a chance to represent the UK in a prestigious global contest.
The IMI SKILL AUTO 2017 refinishing heats kicked off on the 7th of June at the state-of-the-art facility in Atherstone, Warwickshire.
More than 100 students and apprentices from across the UK had initially entered the competition, but only 18 have made it through to this stage.
For 3 days, they went head-to-head in a series of challenges, each vying for a place in the competition finals. Six competitors per day were judged in five key areas ñ panel painting, bumper repair, scratch removal, masking tape precision and colour matching.
Many of the products they used have been supplied by 3M, including abrasives, polishes, masking tape and the 3M brand PPS brand Paint Preparation System.
Among the judges was Simon Evans, the owner/operator of paintsbysimon.com and workshop manager for the refinishing heats.
Simon, who has worked on such high-profile projects as the Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car) at the 3M ARC, said: ìThe judges are all very experienced, so weíre very critical. Weíre expecting to see the same professional quality of work that you would find in any certified body shop.
ìThe entrants will be working with top 3M products, which are some of the best in the industry, so we expect them to deliver.î
The six top-performing contestants will be announced in September. They will go on to take part in the WorldSkills UK refinishing finals, which will be held at the Skills Show, a careers event taking place at the NEC in Birmingham in November.
There, talent scouts will pick one or more of those finalists who are age-eligible to represent the UK in the renowned international WorldSkills contest, which will be held in Russia in 2019.
Zoe Cookson, competition coordinator at the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), which is the Skills Show competition partner in the automotive categories, commented: ìThe chance to represent the UK in the global WorldSkills competition is highly sought after, so we look forward to another great contest in the refinishing category this year.
ì3M have been very gracious in once again letting us hold this event at their superb ARC facility, so weíre extremely grateful to them. Weíre incredibly lucky to be able to benefit from their first-class facilities, as well as their products and expertise, which are second to none.î
3M has hosted the refinishing heats at the ARC every year since the facility opened in 2013, and has been a Global Industry Partner of WorldSkills UK for the past five years.
Last year the company also became an official partner of EuroSkills, a European competition championing young expertise in the industrial trades and service sectors.
Paul Larkin, 3M application engineer manager, said: ì3M is proud to support WorldSkills UK, whose work to foster trade skills among the next generation is invaluable.
ìWe look forward to hosting the refinishing heats every year, as it is always great to see such talented young people who are so passionate about this industry. We wish the best of luck to all those taking part.î
For more information about the competition, visit http://www.theimi.org.uk/landing/skillauto/.