Careers & Training

Aussie Isuzu technicians head to world stage

Isuzu’s National Technical Skills Competition (NTSC) has wrapped up, with two Aussie technicians set to represent their country on the world stage at Isuzu Motor’s I-1 Grand Prix (I-1 GP).

Harrison Minnis was this year’s Australian NTSC winner, scoring 100 per cent during the second virtual failure diagnosis test. He’ll be joined by Jason Peterkin who scored the highest mark in the 2021 NTSC Technical Knowledge exam, earning him a well-deserved spot on the 2021 Australian team.

The duo beat 47 automotive technicians from across the country to earn their spot in the competition, which due to Covid-19, will be taking place in a new virtual format.

In the past, the I-1 GP finals have traditionally been held at Isuzu Motors head office in Japan, with each country’s qualifying team flying in with a coach to compete in both ‘individual’ and ‘team’ finals.

Minnis started his apprenticeship with Brisbane Isuzu Eagle Farm in 2016, fresh from high school. His determination to see a job from start to finish and to rectify difficult repairs are his key strengths, but he acknowledges there’s more work to do before facing the notoriously difficult I-1 GP competition.

“The knowledge tests for the NTSC were extremely difficult, but we’ve been ramping up our training with weekly exams, so we know what to look out for in this next round,” Minnis said.

“There’s a lot of maths involved and electrical diagnostics, but I feel like we’re going to do well – with more study!

“There’s always more to learn and I’m always keen to get my foot through any door, which is what this competition is all about.”

Peterkin began his apprenticeship in 1995, working for his father in Darwin, and going on to complete a dual trade qualification specialising in diagnostics for both electrical and mechanical faults. He joined Tony Ireland Isuzu in 2012 as the Leading Hand (2IC) at the Townsville workshop.

A combination of smarts and on-the-job experience means Peterkin is recognised as one of Australia’s best technicians when it comes to Isuzu’s 4JJ1 engine series.

This isn’t his first time around the I-1 GP circuit—he’s competed several times in the NTSC and took home an honourable team fourth place in the 2018 I-1 GP in Japan.

“The NTSC tests are definitely getting harder each year, and this year’s was daunting at first being fully virtual, but it’s come out to be a well-polished competition.

“The level of experience and competition is always very, very high but I’m quietly confident of our chances this year,” Peterkin added.

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