Bridgestone has become the first premium tyre manufacturer to offer the newly launched Society of Operations Engineers’ (SOE) Commercial Tyre Technician Licence to fleet tyre technicians in the UK.
The licence, which is valid for five years, aims to regulate the industry and provide an approved standard which sets out best practice.
To attain the licence technicians will need to pass a number of assessments.
These include removing and refit a wheel to a commercial vehicle in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, de-mounting and mounting a tubeless truck tyre to a wheel, repairing a truck tyre to British Standards, regrooving a truck tyre to manufacturers’ specific recommendations and taking an online test via a web portal.
Helen Allera, group training manager at Tyreforce in Manchester, is already preparing Tyreforce technicians for the licence.
She said: “These guys are fitting tyres to peoples’ trucks, which is a hugely important - and at times a dangerous - job. Surely there should be something that says they are credible and can carry out the work to the highest possible standards?
"This licence creates traceability, accountability and from our point of view, a blue riband standard that we can use when pitching for work and communicating with our customers. It can help us secure new business, such is the level we regard it.”
Bridgestone UK development trainers Phil Thirsk and Paul Turner both passed a rigorous set of tests in October last year to become assessors for the new licence.
Thirsk believes the licence will give tyre technicians long overdue recognition for their skills and a greater sense of pride in their abilities.
He added: “It is an award we truly believe in and we think it will regulate the industry and become an award for every technician to aspire towards.”
Turner said: “In the past, there was no sense of due-diligence when it came to training. There was no test to speak of, with lots of different companies doing different things to fill a void,” he said.
He added: “We’re proud to be one of the very first to offer this qualification on behalf of Bridgestone and we think that this could really empower an industry that has long deserved something like this.”