Hino NZ’s inaugural skills competition
The national final of the inaugural Hino Skills Competition was held in Auckland on August 1 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 holds similar competitions throughout the world.
Heidi Inkster from Truckstops Wellington stole the show, seeing off 27 competitors to take the top prize, with a very consistent effort throughout the competition.
Heidi joined Truckstops as a diesel technician apprentice in May 2013 and, after completing her apprenticeship in March 2016, has gone from strength to strength. Heidi, who has an inherent curiosity to learn and is not afraid to call a spade a spade, is a true example of a woman shining in a male-dominated industry.
Heidi’s boss, Chris Groves, branch manager, Truckstops Wellington, said, “We are very proud for Heidi to represent our busy branch, and for her to win the NZ competition is fantastic.”
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.”
The final saw Heidi and second-placed Chito Dimaculangan from Truckstops, Mt Wellington branch competing against the clock, taking turns to complete three practical exercises each. In between the practical tests there were also theory tests to complete.
“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,” says Simon. Bene Prasad from the Truckstops Dunedin branch who came third in the competition, also attended the event as a reserve.
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.
Says Kevin Smith, general manager of Truckstops: “Our Apprenticeship Programme enables Truckstops to nurture talented people by providing a clear and rewarding career path across the Truckstops nationwide network.” Truckstops takes upwards of 14 new apprentices every year.
Heidi heads to Australia to compete in a trans-Tasman clash against the top Hino Australia technician as well as heading to Hino Japan to observe the global final later this year. In future Hino NZ is hoping that our local winner will be eligible to compete against the best in the world at this event.
Heidi doesn’t let the scrutiny of the judges slow her down. Left to right: Heidi Inkster, David Beech (judge) and Darren Trask (judge).
Pat McKenna, managing director, Sime Darby Motors Group, New Zealand and Australia, congratulates Heidi.