Veteran technician Brad Hickey from Peel Valley Isuzu in Tamworth and newcomer Louis Holt from Bendigo Isuzu are set to represent Australia at the Isuzu World Technical Competition, the I-1Grand Prix (I1GP), later this year, after taking top honours at the Isuzu National Technical Skills Competition in Melbourne.
Hickey has made it to the National Technical Skills Competition several times over the last few years, but this time he came out with the win. He and Holt will put their skills to the test against technicians from over 40 countries, when global final take place on November 4.
“Making the national team has been something I’ve been working towards for so long,” Hickey said. “When they called out my name, I didn’t really believe it and started tearing up.”
Holt also put in a stellar performance to place second in his first-ever attempt at the competition, which this year took the form of a one-hour written exam and a one-hour on-vehicle exercise. “I just can’t believe I did it!” he said. “I’m super excited for the overall experience and hopefully I represent my country well.”
They were among a pool of 63 Isuzu apprentices and technicians who took part in an online qualifier event earlier in July. The top eight technicians and the top eight apprentices in that event squared off at a national competition at Isuzu Australia Limited’s (IAL’s) Melbourne headquarters.
For Hickey, the strategy for the competition was to stick to his processes and get the little things right.
While Holt attributed his win to the fact he loves his job. “I find being a mechanic a very satisfying job, very rewarding. The best thing is when a truck comes in and it’s not running, and you go straight up to it and within 10 minutes you’ve found a solution.”
With a focus on the skills shortage and building career pathways, IAL this year introduced an Apprentice category and a State of Origin into the National Skills competition as a way of progressing their technicians and also adding some home state pride.
The winners from the Apprentice Category were Jaiden McManus (North East Isuzu Burton) and the runner up was Sam Allan (Ballarat Isuzu). NSW took out honours for the teams-based category which was made up of Brad Hickey (Peel Valley), Kaylem Brown (Canberra Isuzu), Tom O’Conner (Gilbert and Roach Isuzu Hexham) and Pradeep Siddiki (Suttons Motors Arncliffe).
Those making it through to the National skills competition were given a choice of various prizes, while the top two placing technicians/apprentices receive Snap-On tools of their choice to the value of $5000 (technician category) and $2500 (apprentice category)
IAL national training manager David Smith says the Australian team has a very real chance at international success at the I-1 Grand Prix event.
“Our technicians at Isuzu Australia have some fantastic training opportunities and we’ve shown before we can take on the best around the world and win,” he said.
IAL’s team won the international competition in 2011, and had podium finishes in another six international events.
Pre-covid, the annual I-1 GP was held in Japan since 2006 but this year it will again be a virtual competition.
“All 16 competitors who made it to the national competition performed really well, but Brad and Louis and apprentices Jaiden and Sam did some stand-out work to win the competition. I wish Brad and Louis the best of luck in the international event in November,” Smith added.