Isuzu  has announced that a group of its automotive technicians and apprentices are gearing up for a battle of skills in Melbourne later this month.

The technicians and apprentices will be vying for the chance for two technicians to compete against Isuzu technicians from around the world at the I-1 Grand Prix (I-1 GP) in November this year.

Earlier in July, 63 technicians and apprentices took part in an online qualifier event that tested the automotive knowledge and skills of apprentices and technicians through a one-hour written exam, while the technicians went on to do three 10-minute virtual failure diagnostic exercises.

Eight technicians and apprentices are now bound for Melbourne to compete in the National Technical Skills Competition on 27 July, where on the day, the competitors will undertake a one-hour written exam and a one-hour on-vehicle exercise.

Isuzu Australia’s national training manager, David Smith said the National Technical Skills Competition was a fantastic opportunity for technicians and apprentices to showcase their skills.

“Supporting our technicians is crucial, given the shortage of skilled workers in the industry in Australia and globally,” Smith said.

Earlier this year, Australia’s National Skills Commission said its latest assessment of skill shortages found that 42 per cent of technician and trade occupations are in shortage, compared to 19 per cent of all occupations in shortage.

Pre-covid, the annual I-1 GP was held in Japan since 2006 but this year the event is once again a virtual competition. IAL’s team won the international competition in 2011, and made podium finishes in six more of international events.

“The National Technical Skills Competition, the I-1 GP and the Walkinshaw Andretti United V8 supercar pit crew experience are some of the fantastic skill-building experiences for technicians at Isuzu,” David  Smith added.

“These experiences are in addition to the regular training undertaken by Isuzu Trucks technicians to update their knowledge of vehicle inspections, diagnosis, repairs and systems management.”

The eight technicians who will compete for a place on the I-1 Grand Prix team at the national competition includes Kaylem Brown from Canberra Isuzu in Queanbeyan, Brad Hickey from Peel Valley Isuzu  in Tamworth, Joshua Mortimer from Northern Rivers Isuzu in Lismore, Boyd Mole from Brisbane Isuzu in Archerfield, Justin Walker from Westar Truck Centre in Derrimut, Louis Holt from Bendigo Isuzu in Bendigo, Jordan Jeffers from North East Isuzu in Burton SA and Kaiden Hayter from South West Isuzu in Picton WA.

The eight apprentices who will compete are  Tom O’Connor of Gilbert & Roach Isuzu at  Hexham near Newcastle,  Pradeep Siddiki of Suttons Motors Arncliffe  in Sydney, James Boyce of Black Truck Sales in Toowoomba, Cory John of Brisbane Isuzu in Archerfield,  Matthew Dinola of Patterson Cheney Trucks in Dandenong, Sammy Allan of Ballarat Isuzu, at Wendouree in Ballarat, Jaiden McManus of North East Isuzu at Burton in SA and Johnathon Kurthy of Major Motors at Forrestfield in WA.

All 16 competitors have won their choice of either a Milwaukee 18v Fuel 1/2″ High Torque Impact Wrench Kit or a Milwaukee 18v Fuel One-Key 3/4″ High Torque Impact Wrench Kit. The top two highest-scoring technicians and the top two scoring apprentices at the National Technical Skills competition will also win thousands of dollars’ worth of Snap-On tools.