Following a series of regional heats, the search to find the UK’s best independent automotive glazing technician has been narrowed down to six, who are now preparing for the grand final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 16 September.
The first competition of its kind in the UK, Master Fitter attracted some one hundred entries in its inaugural year, as well as the support of Trico Products, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wiper blades and associated systems.
The finalists all showed outstanding technical expertise in repairing and replacing a windscreen, as well as replacing a side and heated rear window, all against the clock. They will be required to repeat these tasks in the final which forms part of the 3-day SkillsCymru exhibition at the Millennium Stadium.
The overall champion will represent the UK on a global stage on 30 September at the 2010 International Master Fitter Championships, as part of the Glasstec International Trade Fair in Dusseldorf, where champions from up to fifteen nations will be participating.
Co-ordinated by Proskills, the Sector Skills Council for the glass and related industries, UK Master Fitter aims to showcase the need for highly skilled people in response to the rapid advances in vehicle technology with glass becoming an increasingly important part of car construction.
The initiative is being supported by a number of organisations, including: the Independent Windscreen Academy (IWA); Master Auto Glass; Laddaw; Dow Automotive; Sika; and the Glass Qualifications Authority (GQA). Vehicles for the final will be supplied by Enterprise.
The six finalists are:
Andrew Fountain Advance Windscreens, Cambuslang
Mark Palmer Advanced Windscreen Services, Bristol
Matthew Cassells Motorglass, Chorley
Marvin Stocks Yorkshire Windscreens, Rotherham
Ben Beckwith A1 Autoglaze, Uckfield
John Ferry Autoglaze, Bournemouth (best runner-up)
Maria Charlton, Director of the Independent Windscreen Academy, which is providing technical and training support for the UK competition, said:
“Automotive glazing is now a technology in its own right and auto-glaziers have evolved into highly skilled technicians. The Master Fitter competition is a showcase for these skills and we're delighted that the UK will be represented on a world stage in Germany. Equally, automotive glazing has now been recognised as part of the World Skills initiative which will give our sector huge profile in the coming years.”
Commented Lisa Nichols, Marketing Manager, Trico Products:
“Just as Trico is committed to ensuring optimum driver visibility through the supply of OE-quality wipers and wiper systems, this competition has reflected the dedication and commitment of technicians who deserve national recognition for their skills. The final of Master Fitter promises to be a real showcase for professionalism that Trico is proud to support.”