APPRENTICES with Kidderminster and Stourport companies were encouraged to show off their skills as North East Worcestershire College’s automotive department took part in National Apprenticeship Week 2012.

The department, based at the college’s Centre of Excellence for Arts and Technology in Bromsgrove, hosted a variety of mini-competitions to test the skills of the apprentices, including Aaron Hibbert, 24, of Breakwells in Kidderminster and James Livingstone, 19, who works for Costin Commercial Ltd of Stourport.

Among the contests was a pit stop challenge in which students battled against the clock to remove and replace the front wheels on a vehicle.

There was also a head to head challenge where they were required to replace valves on a cylinder head against the clock for a chance to win prizes.

All of the apprentices are working towards a City and Guilds Modern Apprenticeship Certificate.

Automotive tutor Jeff Cross arranged the activities, with support from the automotive technicians Ray Gower and Andy Scott.

Mr Cross said: “I believe the students, both the day release apprentices and the full-time students have a competitive edge to them and competing against each other always seems to bring out the best of their skills.”