Neil Walford of Culvers Stockport

2003 Skills Awards For Paint And Bodyshop Operatives Neil Walford, of Culvers Stockport, and Shane Lewer, of Dingle’s Toyota, Attleborough, have claimed top honours in the Toyota 2003 Skills Award Competition. This year’s contest was for paint and bodyshop operatives and was divided into sections for both disciplines.

Neil was named winner of the paint section and Shane came top in the bodyshop category, the pair having competed with six other finalists in a day-long programme of practical and theory tests.

The competition took place at the Toyota Training Centre in Nottingham on 3 July and comprised 45-minute practical workstation sessions on skills such as colour matching, top coat application, paint defect rectification, panel repair, cutting and replacement of a chassis section and spot welding. All finalists also had to complete a multiple choice question sheet on their specialist discipline. A team of fellow professionals from Carter & Carter and the Toyota Training Centre monitored their performance.

Mike Mead, Toyota GB After Sales Director, said: "The annual Toyota Skills Awards are an important and visible demonstration of how Toyota continues to work to achieve the highest standards in all areas of its work. The exceptional talents of our finalists – and of the many more who entered the competition – reflect the excellent work being done by our paint and bodyshop operatives across the country.

"It is through the application of skills like theirs that Toyota can continue to deliver the kind of customer satisfaction that is essential to the sustained growth and success of the brand. They can all be justly proud of their achievements."

Neil and Shane received trophies for themselves and their dealerships and a package of prizes including new tools and activity gift vouchers worth £1,500. They will now go forward to represent the UK in Toyota’s pan-European Skills Grand Prix in Brussels on 5 November. They have also been invited to attend the Assembly of Champions, to be hosted by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan in 2004.

The Skills Awards are contested by different disciplines within the After Sales Departments of Toyota’s UK dealer network year by year. This year’s competition for paint and bodyshop operatives highlighted the benefits of Toyota’s Body and Paint Programme, a system designed to provide a total solution for all parties involved in accident repair: Toyota (GB) PLC, the Toyota-approved repairer; the insurance company or work provider and the customer.

The programme, now in its fourth year, has helped establish a national network of 180 approved repairers qualified to carry out accident repair work on Toyota vehicles.

Published : 25/07/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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