Top skills help teenager to final of competition

AWARD James Smeeth, left, with Halfords chief executive Duncan Wilkes
AWARD James Smeeth, left, with Halfords chief executive Duncan Wilkes
From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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TEENAGE mechanic James Smeeth as been named as one of the best young mechanics in the country after reaching the finals of a national competition.

The 17-year-old was one of just 10 young mechanics to reach the final of Halfords Autocentres Apprentice of the Year competition, the national garage network’s annual competition, which saw him take on fellow apprentices from around the country.

James, from Fareham, works at the Halfords Autocentre on Mumby Road, Gosport and is among 180 young apprentices employed by the company.

The final, held at training provider ProVQ’s state-of-the-art workshop facilities near Shrewsbury, saw the talented technicians compete against the clock in a number of tasks, including a vehicle safety inspection and fault diagnosis challenges.

Bill Collins, technical training manager for Halfords Autocentres, said: ‘All 10 finalists should be very proud of themselves.’

James, pictured above with Halfords chief executive Duncan Wilkes, described it as a ‘nerve-wracking’ experience and said: ‘It was a tough challenge but something I’m really proud to have been invited to compete in. I also picked up a lot of skills that will be really useful back in my Autocentre.’

Mr Wilkes said: ‘We strive to make our people the best they can be and the enthusiasm and dedication shown by our apprentices is a testament to the scheme’s success.’