Mike Collins, from Derryadd, Lisnaskea, is a finalist in the Skillauto Final at the NEC in Birmingham in November. Mike, a student at South West College Enniskillen Campus and an apprentice at Donnelly Brothers VW Enniskillen, was successful in his Northern Ireland heat in January which was held in Portadown. This allowed him to progress through to the UK Regional heats in May 2013. Having secured 1st place in this competition, Mike is now getting geared up for the UK Finals, which will be held in the NEC Birmingham starting on the 13th November 2013.
Mike has recently completed his Level 3 Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair and is currently enrolled at SWC Skills Centre in Enniskillen completing level 4 Advanced Automotive Diagnostics. Mike’s speciality is Auto Technology and as part of his intensive diagnostic training for the event his Lecturer Raymond Fitzpatrick has developed a comprehensive training scheme with his employer Donnelly Brothers. Raymond said, “At the event in the NEC Mike will be expected to complete six tasks of 1hour 30 minutes each covering areas such as, Engine Mechanical Systems, Engine Electrical Systems, Transmission Systems, Body Electrical Systems, Braking Systems, Steering and Suspension. These tasks require a highly skilled, competent technician to work on modern vehicles using the latest diagnostic equipment.
His success epitomises the progressive thinking of the automotive diagnostics team at South West College. In recent years the College have heavily invested in new technologies to advance curriculum developments for all its students, and now holds one of the best facilities in N Ireland. Mike has had the support of the extensive technology and training available within South West College. In addition his employer Donnelly Brothers has sent Mike on a range of VW manufacturer’s course to hone his diagnostic skills. This liaison between SWC and Employers facilitates the progression of students in the World Skill UK Competitions, primary objective of which is to ensure that technical standards and expertise within the UK's automotive industry are constantly developed in line with employer's requirements. They achieve this by identifying and selecting the UK's most talented, young automotive technicians.
The 2013 SkillAuto competition aims not only to award medals to competitors at UK Finals but also to search for excellence amongst competitors who may be eligible for Worldskills 2014 to be held in Leipzig. This means if Mike is successful in Birmingham, he may have the opportunity to represent the UK at one of the Worldskills international events.
Mike said; “I am really looking forward to the challenge of Birmingham, the competition system to date, the intercampus College and the regional NI finals, have been a great learning experience for me. They have provided me with vital experience in working under pressure in a competitive environment, which will help me to perform well in the UK competition and hopefully be crowned the best new technician in the UK."
The whole of Northern Ireland will be behind Mike as he bids for glory in Birmingham. Follow Mike’s progress by becoming a friend of the Motor Vehicle Technology on South West College’s Facebook page.