Matthew triumphed against five other finalists in the first competition staged to find the UK’s most highly skilled automotive glazing technician. The event was the centrepiece of the SkillsCymru exhibition which was held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, attracting more than 10,000 visitors on its first day.
Following a series of regional finals held over the past six months which drew more than one hundred entries, the elite group of automotive glaziers had to demonstrate outstanding technical expertise in repairing and replacing a windscreen, as well as replacing a side and heated rear window, all against the clock.
Matthew goes forward to 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. It is expected that champions from up to fifteen nations will be participating.
Co-ordinated by Proskills, the Sector Skills Council for the glass and related industries, the UK Master Fitter competition 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 competition was sponsored by Trico Products, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wiper blades and associated systems with direct support from a number of organisations, including: the Independent Windscreen Academy (IWA); Enterprise Car Rental; Dow Automotive; Sika; Master Auto Glass; Laddaw; and the Glass Qualifications Authority (GQA).
Matthew was presented with his trophy and a cheque for £2,500 at the National Training Awards, which celebrated the achievements of people across all industries. He said:
“This really is a dream come to true for me. I’ve been in this business for 19 years and I always try to better myself. Every day in this industry is different and I always look for a better way to achieve high quality standards. It was a tough contest and I was pleased with my overall performance but had no idea if I had done enough to win so when my name was announced I was delighted. I’m now really looking forward to the international championships in Germany.”
Added Matthew: “Actually representing the UK hasn’t sunk in yet but after the UK final I feel confident and hope to be able to keep my head and do the best I can.”
Attending the SkillsCymru event, Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills said:
“Automotive glazing is now a technology in its own right and automotive glaziers have evolved into highly skilled technicians. The finalists this year have all reached a level of excellence that will act as an inspiration to us all. They all share a single characteristic, a steadfast commitment to achieving excellence through training.”