Hino NZ‘s inaugural Skills Competition

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 15, 2018

Heidi Inkster with Sime Darby managing director Pat McKenna.

The national final of the inaugural Hino Skills Competition was held in Auckland on 1 August to determine the top Hino-trained Truckstops technician in New Zealand. The competition, jointly run between Hino Distributors and its after sales support partner Truckstops, saw 28 Truckstops technicians across New Zealand test their knowledge of the Hino product.

“We are constantly looking at ways to improve the support we provide our Hino customers and felt an initiative of this nature was a great way to improve our technicians‘ knowledge base – through a little healthy competition,” said Hino‘s general manager, Darren Salt. Hino hold similar competitions throughout the world.

Heidi Inkster from Truckstops Wellington saw off 27 competitors to take the top prize, with a very consistent effort throughout the competition. Inkster joined Truckstops as a diesel technician apprentice in May 2013 and has gone from strength to strength after completing her apprenticeship in 2016.

“We are very proud for Heidi to represent our busy branch, and for her to win the New Zealand competition is fantastic,” said Chris Groves, branch manager, Truckstops Wellington.

Simon Wilson, Hino New Zealand‘s technical support manager added: “We are thrilled to have such a talented female technician supporting Hino in the Truckstops network. We hope Heidi‘s success will encourage other females to consider the heavy transport industry as a viable career option”.

Heidi Inkster being closely watched by the judges.

The final saw Inkster and second-placed Chito Dimaculangan from Truckstops‘ Mt Wellington branch competing against the clock, taking turns to complete three practical exercises each and also theory tests.

“We wanted to test the competitors‘ skills and knowledge as well as their ability to work under pressure to a set timeframe, much like the challenges our technicians face in our workshops on a daily basis,” said Wilson.

The competition was held at the National Development Centre in Auckland, which runs the Truckstops apprenticeship programme and supports both Hino and Truckstops with targeted, product-specific training programmes. Truckstops takes upwards of 14 new apprentices every year.

Inkster will head to Australia on 21 August to compete in a trans-Tasman clash against the top Hino Australia technician and will also head to Hino Japan to observe the global final later this year.