A Preston-based BMW service engineer has become the only technician in England to retain one of the toughest technical accreditations in the motor trade seven times in succession.
Harold Bowden has officially passed his master technician accreditation for the seventh time. He is currently one of only 66 BMW master technicians in England, but the only one to hold the accreditation for so long.
BMW requires all master technicians to re-qualify for the accreditation every five years. Harold Bowden’s success – after working with Bowker for over 45 years – means that, by the time Harold’s next accreditation is due, he will have been a Master Technician for over 35 years.
Harold said: “I love the BMW technology. So, when I immerse myself in the details – it doesn’t feel quite so much like hard work in the way others might think. Add to that, I have the support of a great employer in Bowker Motor Group. They always back me. So, those two things combined make a big difference when I challenge myself to achieve the Master Technician accreditation.
“Yes. It’s quite a high level of knowledge – but it needs to be. I do a lot of training in my own time – at weekends and evenings. And fortunately, I’m genuinely interested in BMW cars so it makes it a little easier for me. Technology is always changing. There are new hybrids and the all-electric models coming through; so there are always new engine developments or new gadgets to widen my mechanical knowledge.”
In the tests, Harold successfully completed the industry-recognised examinations featuring a range of online, practical, diagnostic and theoretical examinations. The test now also includes a coaching exercise and customer handling situations.
Harold has also achieved the title of AAE (Advanced Automotive Engineer) which is a special engineering grade awarded by the IMI. And in 2005 Harold was also one of the first technicians to receive IMI ATA Master Technician.
In 2015, BMW UK recognised Harold’s achievements by presenting him with a Lifetime Achievement Award from BMW UK. He was the first technician in England to achieve the accolade.
Stewart Rose, Bowker Motor Group Group Services Manager, said: “Harold is an inspiration to us all. I, myself, have worked for Bowker Motor Group for over 36 years. So, I know just how hard Harold has worked to stay at the top of hsi game for so long.
“The other technicians know he is always available to help with any challenges they face. It is a massive benefit to have someone so knowledgeable as part of our team. Congratulations Harold. And we look forward to celebrating your seven accreditation in 5 more years!”
Last year, 27-year-old Bowker Motor Group’s Callan McGuigan from Fulwood Preston was awarded BMW Senior Technician status after a gruelling day-long exam at the BMW training centre at Wokefield Park, Reading.