Scania  says its long running Top Teams ‘skills contest’  is helping tp underlines its efforts to continues to drive the shift towards a sustainable transport system in Australia, saying that its best and brightest technicians are now getting to grips with battery electric vehicles after having already become familiar with electric-hybrid technology.

The company  has just conducted the Australia national finals  for its Top Team competition at its Campbellfield Dealer Support Centre in Melbourne’s far northern suburbs and for the first time it has included battery electric vehicles from the Scania range.

Seven teams from across the Scania network who had graduated from earlier rounds battled it out recently to claim the prize of representing Australia at the Bangkok regional finals of Scania’s global competition.

Scania offers its 1600 global workshops the opportunity every two years to field teams to compete with national and regional rounds sifting the 12 best teams who come together in Sweden to compete for the title.

In the past Scania Australia has fielded global winning teams from its Prestons NSW branch in 2011 and 2013, and with a hotly contested second spot ceding victory by a whisker to the Kiwis in 2015.

This year, the Australian National Finals included for the first time a technical challenge involving the very first Battery Electric Scania truck to arrive in Australia, a vehicle not yet released onto the road and few even within the business knew was in the country.

Scania says the Top Team challenge became an opportunity to put theory and training to the test.

It added that the seven teams were drawn from Scania company-owned branches in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and three from New South Wales.

The teams assembled early on the 4th September, and ploughed straight in, armed with a mix of youthful enthusiasm and years of experience on the tools and computers, as well as having put in many hours of pre-finals preparation on the books and in the workshop,

The company says  that against-the-clock fault finding and diagnosis took place on a variety of Scania products, from an industrial and marine engine to truck and bus systems as well as the BEV, and included mechanical, electrical and procedural tests.

From the seven teams, the “Dandenong AINACS” emerged victorious, heading off the “Prestons Pups” as runners up, followed closely by “Eastern Creek Team 1”.

The team from Dandenong will travel to Bangkok to compete in the Asian regional finals from where two teams will progress to Sweden for the global finals.

“Scania Top Team embodies all of the value we hold dear,” said newly appointed managing director of Scania Australia, Manfred Streit.

“Teamwork is an essential foundation of our workshop efficiency, and Top Team sparks cross functional relationships that endure long after the competition, and allow us to function more smoothly in the pursuit of delivering enhanced customer uptime.

“Top Team encourages workshop colleagues to form strong bonds and to believe in themselves and each other, which makes for a more harmonious working environment on many levels, and it also allows older and younger colleagues to integrate well, so the mentoring process is further enhanced.

“Workshops function best when colleagues feel part of a team. On the job, the best results for our customers come from teamwork behind the scenes,” Steit said.

The victorious Dandenong AINACS (‘Scania’ reversed) team comprised Chris Chilver (captain), Frank Jurinec, Cooper Castricum, Danny Manak, and Michael Petersen, and between them they have more than 80 years of Scania technical experience.

“It was nice to finally win, we have been runners-up several times before, and there was some pressure on us, so we’re very happy to take the win. We didn’t start very well, but we came home very strongly and teamwork and believing in ourselves got us over the line,” Chris Chilver said.

Scania  says that consistent with its focus on the future, a pared back version of the Top Team challenge was undertaken by five top apprentices drawn from around the country.

This was won by Aaron Gorton, a third-year apprentice from Scania Laverton in Victoria.

“I’ve always wanted to be a diesel technician and I am glad I came to Scania as there are great opportunities here,” Aaron said.

“I wanted to work for a global company, and the Scania training programme has allowed me to get a lot more out of my apprenticeship. As a Scania apprentice technician, you get to do a lot of real world work, such as rebuilding gearboxes, engines and axles.

“Today’s Next Generation Apprentice challenge was tricky, we didn’t know what to expect, but I’m pleased to have won it. It also gave us all a good look at Top Team and I’ll be signing up to be part of a team next time round,” Aaron said.