The finals of VISTA (Volvo International Service Training Award) are held on May 31-June 1 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The competition is open to all workshop personnel who work with Volvo trucks or buses. The aim is to improve staff competence and further raise the quality of the work done at workshops the world over.
Since the first VISTA competition was held in 1957, a lot of changes have taken place in the workshops. Back then the job was oily, dirty and demanded physical strength. Today the situation is entirely different.
“Vehicle development demands that the mechanic’s training keeps pace. This requires a totally different kind of knowhow today in areas such as mechanics, electronics and IT systems. Consequently, mechanics today have much higher status than they did before,” says Kent Medin, instructor at the Volvo Trucks school for mechanics.
In today’s workshops the work is more a matter of precision mechanics. Vehicles are connected online for computerised tests and status checks. New software can often be installed online instead of requiring physical components to be replaced.
In order to ensure that all Volvo workshops the world over maintain the highest quality, there are unique training courses for Volvo mechanics at all levels, each tailored to the unique preconditions of each individual market. In addition, all mechanics are tested continuously and undergo further training if any gaps are discovered in their expertise.
VISTA is a complement to the company’s internal training programmes. More than 18,000 people from 96 countries are taking part in the competition, which begins with a theory test.
“This inspires the participants to do their homework and learn more. In VISTA, everyone in the team is involved, so the ability to cooperate is significantly enhanced,” relates Kent Medin.
Another change is that the proportion of women in workshops has increased, something that is also reflected in VISTA. In 2013 five per cent of all the participants were women, whereas this year the figure has risen to six per cent. One of the Brazilian teams in the final round includes Natalia Aparecida de Gaspri Silva, Aftersales Administrative Assistant in the Auto Sueco São Paulo workshop. She has worked there for nine years.
“VISTA helps me boost my technical experience, it gives me a broader understanding of the daily challenges facing the workshop, and underscores the importance of teamwork. Especially when it happens in an integrated and cohesive way,” she explains.