ISUZU NATIONAL TECHNICAL SKILLS COMP & I-1 GRAND PRIX RETURN FOR 2021
Isuzu technicians are sharpening their skills in preparation for the Isuzu World Technical Competition, which is this year taking place in a new-look virtual format due to COVID-19.
Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) National Service Technical Manager, Brenton Cook, welcomed back the competition—commonly referred to as the I-1 Grand Prix (I-1 GP)—which celebrates technical talent and see teams of Isuzu technicians testing their skills on the global stage.
“Whilst the I-1 GP tournament was held virtually in 2020, IAL made the tough decision not to participate so we could focus on supporting our customers and the dealer network through a very challenging year,” Mr Cook said.
“It is still tough out there, but we have decided the show must go on and we must adapt to this new environment.
“The I-1 GP is a truly unique event that recognises the talent of our technicians and gives them something to strive for, showing them that their skills in the workshop are highly valued,” he continued.
“In particular, we want our younger generation to see that being a technician can be both exciting and rewarding, with opportunities for career advancement.
Podium position: The IAL team took the bronze medal at the I-1 Grand Prix in 2019
“It’s also fantastic to bring the global Isuzu family together again, which has been nothing if not a challenge over the past 18 months.”
National competition kicks off calendar
The I-1 GP calendar of events in Australia kicks off with IAL’s National Technical Skills Competition qualifier, held between September 24 and September 28.
This qualifying round challenges technicians nominated by Isuzu dealerships and Authorised Service and Parts Outlets across the country with a series of tough technical knowledge and virtual failure diagnostic exercises.
The top 10 technicians in the National Competition will receive generous prizes.
An Isuzu technician competing at the National Technical Skills Competition in 2019
The two technicians with the best total combined results from the qualifier will then go forward to represent Australia internationally amongst 42 teams from other countries—including Japan, England, Thailand and the USA—at the main I-1 GP event held on November 25.
Fame and glory
Former I-1 GP competitor Jake Quick competed for Australia during the 2017 I-1 GP and is now encouraging other Isuzu technicians to jump on the opportunity to represent dealership and country.
Jake Quick (left) and Drew Murden (right) with coach Brenton Cook at the 2017 I-1 Grand Prix presentation ceremony in Japan
Since participating in the I-1 GP, Jake’s career has moved onwards and upwards, and he is now enjoying a role as Workshop Supervisor for Ballarat Isuzu.
“The I-1 GP has been one of the pivotal moments in my career,” Mr Quick commented.
“I entered the National Technical Skills Competition multiple times; the first time placing fifth, then placing third the year after, before being selected as a finalist in 2017 and competing for Australia in Japan at the I-1 GP.
“It was such a great feeling getting that far and translating what I did in the workshop for our customers on the larger stage.”
Jake recommended getting involved with programs like the I-1 GP to technicians looking to advance their career and to get out of their comfort zones.
“It’s not just doing the competition, it was the whole experience… the travel (pre-COVID of course), the people, the awards, opportunities and everything in between,” Mr Quick said.
“I know we’ve got some really talented people at Isuzu that can step up to the challenge.
“Take one of our apprentices—Samual Allan—at Ballarat as an example,” he continued.
“We encouraged him to compete in the HVIA National Apprentice Challenge at the Brisbane Truck Show earlier this year… he was shy leading into it but once he got on the plane to Brisbane, he didn’t look back.
“Sammy ended up winning the challenge against apprentices from dealerships all over the country and from different companies, not just Isuzu, which was fantastic.
“We’ll certainly be recommending him to compete in the I-1 GP when he’s qualified as well.”