A Magherafelt mechanic is gearing up to take on the best in the business in England at the Top Technician Competition 2015.
Colm Higgins, the owner of C. H. Autoservices, only signed up to do the online assessment for the course a week before the closing date, but now finds himself on the verge of becoming Northern Ireland’s first winner of the competition.
The 31-year-old and his fiancee Carly will travel to Wolverhampton on Thursday to take part in the final against nine of the most gifted car mechanics in the UK.
“We are all so proud of Colm,” Carly told the Mail. “If I’m honest it feels like we have won already!
“We were over the moon to get into the top 23 never mind the top 10. I don’t think Colm ever expected to get so far in the competition.”
The assessment is designed to recognise and reward the skills of the best techs in the UK.
“We have been told that it’s the first time since the competition was started in 2002 that a technician from NI has made it so far in the competition into the top ten.
“We are so excited and extremely proud of this achievement of a guy from a small local garage,” Carly said.
“The nerves are now setting in but a lot of studying has to be done before then to scrub up on a few things.”
Colm finished above hundreds of entrants from dealerships across the country who entered an online test.
If I’m honest it feels like we have won already!
The top 23 went on to do an intense one hour online assessment and it was from this group that Colm emerged as one of the final ten.
These techs will travel to Wolverhampton on the 27th March for a two-day practical.
“They will go through five 20 minute assessments on the first day,” said Carly.
“He will be presented with a big variety of cars with various problems and he will have to figure them out - he will go into the assessment totally blind.
“Whether or not Colm makes it into the final five, he already feels like he has won.
“He never expected to even get through to the top 23!
“On its own it was a massive achievement especially from a small business in a small country when he was facing some of the best well trained and experienced techs in the industry!
“We, at C.H. Autoservices, spend a great deal of time investing in studying and training and I think this will help Colm in the competition.
“Even now we are focussing hugely on new emissions and e-car training.”