The IMI has welcomed the Government’s Skills Strategy White Paper, believing it could help achieve the Institute’s call for a national ‘benchmark’ of vehicle technician skills.
Research carried out by the IMI last year revealed that up to 50% of technicians working in the retail motor industry do not possess a nationally recognised qualification.
The White Paper’s proposals include financial help for ‘adult learners’ to encourage those already in jobs to obtain a minimum Level 2 qualification (equivalent to five GCSEs), with the potential for progression to Level 3 (equivalent to 2 A-Levels). It is estimated that 7.3 million adults in the UK (30% of the working population) do not have a Level 2 or equivalent qualification.*
Alan Mackrill, the IMI’s director of learning and skills, commented: “For the first time, the new Skills Strategy could offer clear learning progression from the age of 14, which could bring tremendous benefits to the motor industry in terms of improving both recruitment and retention of qualified individuals. We cannot maintain a situation where it is still possible for someone who is unqualified to work in such a complex and potentially dangerous environment as a modern garage. What’s more, this presents a great opportunity to raise the status of skilled people.”
Meanwhile, changes to the 14-19 curriculum are intended to boost the Modern Apprenticeship scheme, enabling successful apprentices to enter higher education via the vocational route - onto degree programmes, for example. This move has also been welcomed by the IMI, which recently launched the first Pre-Apprenticeship programme for 14-16 year olds. The programme links schools with colleges of further education, giving students an insight into industry and a vocational qualification to complement their academic studies.
*Statistic from Department for Education and Skills.
Having been first to introduce a revolutionary facility for trainee vehicle technicians to be tested on the internet as part of their vocational qualification, the IMI has taken another major step forward with the launch of Keyskills on-line tests from this month.
More than 45,000 technical tests have been passed since the IMI’s on-line assessment system went ‘live’ in 2001. As a result of its success, the Institute is now a key player in a pilot scheme with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to deliver Keyskills testing in a more user friendly and cost effective way, using the internet.
Until now, all students had to undertake paper-based tests either at school or college on specific dates during the year, which proved to be both an administrative and logistical burden, not to mention costly, because tests had to be marked by hand.
With the IMI’s on-line Keyskills, testing can take place on demand, at any time, suiting both teacher and pupil. Results are returned instantly, as with the technical on-line assessment system, and it is completely paper free.
Commented Eleanor Rose, IMI qualifications services manager: “This is another great step forward in making the achievement of valuable qualifications a more rewarding and motivating experience for students, not to mention teachers. We are delighted to be working in partnership with QCA to deliver Keyskills testing in a more dynamic and user friendly way.”
Initially, the tests available on-line will be:
Application of Number (using maths in everyday work) Level 1Communication Level 1Information Technology Level 1Application of Number Level 2Communication Level 2
The IMI intends to make Information Technology Level 2 available in the next two months. For further information, contact the IMI awarding body on 01992 511521.
New applications for IMI membership saw major growth during July of nearly 50% year on year. An increasing number is being generated through the web-site, which continues to evolve with the addition of fresh content and new services for members.
There’s also rising interest in the technical courses being run by EMTEC, to assist members with their Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Over the next months, EMTEC is putting on a range of technical courses, exclusive to IMI members, at four UK locations. Attendance at these will count towards the ‘structured activity’ element of a member’s CPD requirement.
To book yourself a place visit the Members’ Only area of this web site
Volvo have recently become an approved centre for the IMI’s Quality Assured Awards (QAA) programme. Technicians completing the Volvo Master Technician programme qualify for a QAA certificate from the IMI, which provides the individual with independent verification of their technical competence.
Acorn Management Associates, provider of training courses for the automotive aftermarket, has become an IMI approved assessment centre for Quality Assured Awards.
Acorn’s managing director Brian Hartshorne said: “Quality aftermarket service depends on the training of your staff. A team that is fully equipped to deal with the needs of the customer breeds confidence and gives that extra level of service demanded by today’s consumer. No serious contender in the aftermarket industry can afford to be lax about staff training.”
From its centre in Cheshire, and regionally throughout the UK, Acorn runs courses covering:
Management - development of management skills for first line managers; assistance for service receptionists and assistant managers.
Sales & Quality - face-to-face sales; telephone handling; customer handling; quality systems; due diligence and duty of care.
Technical - tyre technology; tyre fitting; steering and suspension; brake technology; brake servicing; vehicle servicing, and so on.
These training programmes are ideal for service departments, autocentres and all fast fit operations that want to extend and enhance their aftermarket service, said Brian Hartshorne. For further information, contact 0151 355 2657.
Location: Crewe, Cheshire.Centre Co-ordinators: Mike Damant and Cheryl Kennedy (tel): 01270 534957. Qualifications offered: Quality Assured Awards Review of business activities (including recent investment):
Bentley is spending some £4m in 2003 on training and people development, following the recent brand separation from Roll-Royce and the dealer readiness programme to support the launch of the Continental GT and further model lines.
Bentley Academy comprises a team of 18 people globally and recently started the licence programme to support the Continental GT. This is being followed by personal development plans bespoke to individuals on a global basis.
has set IMI membership as a minimum requirement for self-employed engineers seeking to join the company’s vehicle inspection network.
The work embraces pre and post purchase, units/components, substandard or disputed repairs, vehicle /merchantable quality assessment, fleet services, lease-end, pre- contract, maintenance and dispute arbitration, and post accident assessment.
For further information, contact 0870 902 4750 or write to: The Managing Director, Re: Vehicle Inspection Service, International Breakdown Ltd, PO Box 444 Bradford, West Yorks BD6 1YN.