Hometown Swedes win world’s biggest competition for workshop personnel

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GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Avesta Cruising Club from Sweden has been named winner of the 2011 Volvo Vista world final in Gothenburg.

The 2011 installment of the worldwide competition and training program for mechanics and service personnel started in September with a record 13,704 participants from 75 countries. The field was pared down to 153 teams from 3,740 original team entrants through three rounds of theoretical questions. Those 153 teams then participated in one of the 16 semi finals, which were held in nine locations worldwide, between late-March and mid-April, where practical skills were tested in workshops.

Representing Canada was Beaver Truck Centre of Winnipeg (team name, DeF Nightshift) who placed sixth out of a field of 30 teams in the finals last week.

“It’s incredible. I don’t know how this happened or how we did it,” said Håkan Eriksson of the winning team Avesta Cruising Club, immediately after the announcement. “There are so many good teams here, and while I think we have a pretty good team, I never thought we’d finish first.”

Staffan Jufors, president and CEO of Volvo Trucks, was there in attendance to personally present the Avesta Cruising Club with their award.

“Our responsibility to our customers does not end when we hand over the keys, but continues for the entire lifetime of the truck. To live up to this commitment we depend on our highly skilled and hard-working aftermarket personnel,” said Jufors at the ceremony. “You are the ones on the frontline, and the Vista competition is our way of both rewarding your hard work and further raising the competence within our service organisation”.

“We estimate that VISTA 2011 has produced around 400,000 hours of extra training, making a huge contribution to the skill level of our global workforce. This is why VISTA remains vital for competence development,” said Ann Hesselbom, Senior Vice President for Human Resources at Volvo Trucks, who also attended the world final. “As our trucks become more advanced, the requirements on our service technicians increase, and VISTA is a very effective way of ensuring high quality in our aftermarket services.”

On June 28, the 30 finalists gathered at the Volvo Trucks Training Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, where they had their theoretical and practical skills tested in a series of workshops. Avesta Cruising Club won the world championship after recording the highest score. Team NTC1 from Switzerland and Team Montones 13 from Spain finished second and third respectively.

Three honour prizes were also awarded to teams that the judges believed best reflected Vista’s core values. Team Mission Impossible from Russia was awarded the prize for Customer Satisfaction, while NZ Truck from New Zealand won an award for Team Spirit. Trabus from Mexico, who were the first Mexican team to take part in a Vista world final and one of the competition’s few teams of bus specialists, were awarded the prize for Best Newcomer.

“I’m so happy and so proud,” said Alfredo Arias Esquivias from Trabus. “The competition has been difficult for us since we deal mainly with buses but this is a good beginning for the next VISTA. We’ll definitely be back.”

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