Top young performers in automotive refinishing used 3M products to demonstrate their talents in front of thousands of visitors at the Skills Show 2016.
They were taking part in the national finals of the competition to find the WorldSkills UK winner in the automotive refinishing category – one of 61 different skills being contested during the three-day event at Birmingham’s NEC.
Many of the products they used were supplied by 3M and included abrasives, polishes, compounds and PPS (Paint Preparation System).
As well as providing products for the finals, the 3M Automotive Aftermarkets Division (AAD) had also earlier hosted the heats for the category at the 3M Atherstone Automotive Refinish Centre.
Some 300 current or qualified apprentices from colleges all over the UK had initially entered for the automotive competitions and 18 or these took part in the heats, from which just six were chosen for the national finals.
“The support from 3M has been absolutely phenomenal,” said David Massie, the skills competition manager with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), which is the Skills Show competition partner in the automotive categories.
“We have been holding heats at 3M’s Atherstone site for the past three years and its Automotive Refinish Centre is an outstanding venue with state-of-the-art facilities. When we first saw it, it really blew us away.
“3M is such an iconic name within the industry and its involvement with this competition has made an enormous difference. Without 3M, I really believe it just wouldn’t have the wide respect that it now enjoys.”
Rob Drage, AAD technical sales executive, has been involved with working with the competition for the past two years. He previously studied motor vehicle body repair at Leicester College some 15 years ago.
He commented: “When I was at college we never had any contact with the large companies in the industry, so I know how important it is for 3M to be involved with a competition like this.
“Working with the young apprentices and introducing them to our company and products is a great way of building a strong relationship with them for the future.”
The winners of the national competition at the NEC now go forward to be selected for the UK squad to take part in the international WorldSkills™ competition, being held in Russia in 2019.
3M has been a Global Industry Partner of the WorldSkills event for the past four years and this year also became an official partner of EuroSkills™ – a European competition and part of WorldSkills – which is held every two years to champion young expertise in the industrial trades and service sectors.
Photos by James Pilgrim Photography.