IMI Magazine

IMI Magazine

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ATA tops ‘exceptional progress’

IMI members and their guests at this year’s annual dinner at London’s Savoy Hotel heard patron Prince Michael of Kent speak of the Institute’s “exceptional progress” over the past 12 months – highlight of which was the launch of Automotive Technician Accreditation.

Reporting that more than 1,000 technicians are now accredited under this ‘proof of competence’ scheme, which is governed by the IMI, Prince Michael said: “ATA has created a real buzz around the industry and been welcomed by major stakeholders, employers, technicians and the media.

“They recognise that it will clearly identify skilled individuals, reinforce efforts to improve their career development and elevate the status of those accredited, and of the industry as a whole.”

Prince Michael went on to say that the principles of ATA were applicable to a number of other job disciplines across the industry and there were already moves to introduce it in areas such as crash repair, motorcycles and roadside assistance.

ATA also played a crucial role in the Institute’s objective of highlighting the value and importance of linking competence with professional ethics. “Recognition by the whole industry of an individual’s qualifications, underpinned by his commitment to a robust code of conduct, offers customers reassurance that they are dealing with professionals on whom they can rely.”

The dinner was sponsored by Unipart Automotive, which has supported ATA from the start as a pilot partner, and Taylor & Emmet Solicitors, providers of the Legal Link service for IMI members.

Acclaim for ‘achievers’

The annual dinner again featured Motor Industry Magazine ‘Achiever’ awards to four individuals selected from among those whose successes have been reported in the magazine over the past 12 months. They were staged in association with Automotive Advantage whose chairman, Peter Turner, presented the awards.

Introducing the awards, editor Chris Phillips (pictured left) said the final selection by an editorial judging panel was no easy task, given the range of talents across IMI membership, but the four winners “had each made an outstanding contribution to advancing the cause of excellence”.

The four winners were: Harold Bowden AAE MIMI, a Master Technician with BMW dealer Derek Woodman Ltd in Blackpool, twice winner of BMW UK’s national service technician competition and one of the first to qualify for the Automotive Technician Accreditation programme; Andrew Blair, of Wrights Accident Repair (formerly Mallusk Accident Repair Centre), winner of a gold medal for autobody repair in the Skills Olympics in Helsinki; Owen Laurenson CAE FIMI, engineering planning manager within General Motors Europe, based at Vauxhall’s Engineering Centre, for his achievement in qualifying for an MBA; and Frank Massey FIMI, proprietor of  Preston-based company Automotive Diagnostic Solutions, for his diagnostic work (Frank also became the first independent technician to gain Automotive Technician Accreditation at Mastertech level).

ATA scoops top training award

The Institute-governed Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) initiative has scooped its first honour, winning the training trophy at this year’s AM magazine awards event.

In front of an audience of more than 1,000 industry executives who attended the event at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, IMI chief executive Sarah Sillars collected the award from Patricia Richards (pictured), chief executive of Automotive Skills, which sponsored the training award category.

Launched in June 2005, ATA is the UK’s first national benchmark standard of current technical competence for light vehicle technicians, which was developed over three years by an industry-wide steering group, spear-headed by the IMI. ATA is actively supported by all major vehicle manufacturers and the UK’s largest service and repair organisations.

“For ATA to be recognised in this way is a tremendous testament to the team effort that went into making it a reality,” said Sarah. “With more than 1,000 technicians already accredited and a further 700 who have registered their participation so far, this initiative has galvanised the sector into seeing the value of recognising proven current competence which is linked to a robust code of ethical behaviour.

“Everyone who has been involved in ATA each owns a piece of this magnificent award. This recognition will help significantly in our collective efforts to encourage businesses and technicians to take part, as well as the continuing development of accreditation models for other disciplines in the industry.”

Commented Patricia Richards: “Automotive Skills wholeheartedly supports accreditation and I am delighted that the IMI are this year’s winners. The common messages from around the world are that accreditation/registration schemes work. They raise skill levels, increase respect for the accredited occupations, improve quality and workmanship and help to increase public confidence.”

IMI governance under review

Since June of last year, the Institute’s Council of Management has been discussing the appropriateness and effectiveness of its governance structure. At its meeting on 14 December, Council agreed that the existing structure did not adequately balance the needs for the governing body to provide full democratic representation of the membership and act effectively as trustees and decision makers. The principal concern was that Council was too small to represent all members fairly and too large to act as an efficient decision making body.

Council therefore decided that a new governance structure should be developed to  address these concerns.  To ensure all members have their say in the future structure, a period of extensive consultation is planned for April, May and June of this year.  Using the results of the consultation, Council intends to develop a new structure for approval by the members within twelve months.

To provide stability and consistency in the existing Council during this period, an Extraordinary General Meeting has been called for 16th May, at which members will be asked to pass a special resolution postponing the forthcoming Council elections for a period of one year.

Members wishing to discuss any issues concerning this should contact the Company Secretary, Allan Tyrer on 01992 511521, at or by letter.


An Extraordinary General Meeting
of the Institute will be held at Fanshaws, Brickendon, Hertford on
Tuesday 16th May at 11am

Any member wishing to attend
the EGM is requested to notify
the Company Secretary, Allan Tyrer,
on 01992 511521 or email

List narrows for top technician

Finalists are now being selected for this year’s Top Technician contest at the Automotive Trade Show.
Out of an initial entry of 500 technicians, 36 were selected for the semi finals at three regional ATA approved test centres in Croydon, Hinckley and Manchester. They undertook ATA at diagnostic level and were independently assessed for the purposes of the competition by Mark Softley from MototeK and Ian Gillgrass from the IMI.

The top 36 came from all types of service and repair businesses, from mobile repairers and independent workshops to garages from the Bosch Service Centre network and franchised dealerships.

Jack Kyriacos, owner of East London Garages in Plaistow, had presented the competition to his technicians to see if they were up for the challenge. They decided that Jack himself should enter. “It’s great that I have made it this far. The boys will go for it next year now I’ve shown them the old man can do it!”

Top Technician 2006 sponsors are Automotive Skills, Bosch, LUK and Vauxhall Trade Club. Technical partner is MototeK and the competition is supported by the Automotive Trade Show, Garage Equipment Association, Institute of the Motor Industry and Retail Motor Industry Federation.
The finals take place on 25-27 April at the NEC Birmingham, stand number 1531.

Heavy stuff! 

IMI approved centre Bridgwater College has taken delivery of a new vehicle for apprenticeship training.
Richard Clayton, programme manager for heavy vehicle training, said:  “It comes equipped with the very latest computer controlled engine management, transmission and braking systems, and offers state-of-the-art common rail diesel engine technology.  This will enable our students to gain hands-on experience diagnosing and rectifying complex electrical faults with the aid of dedicated diagnostic equipment.”

HGV lecturer, David Woodland said: “Given the rapid advances in electronics, this vehicle will enable us to prepare our students with the knowledge and skills they require for today’s modern commercial vehicle industry.”

Staff and students at Bridgwater College’s automotive centre give an enthusiastic thumbs up to the arrival of their new training vehicle.


For details of those members who recently became eligible for CAE and AAE qualifications, please refer to the Institute’s website News section.

ATA showcase 

Some 20 members and local employers attended an ATA Showcase at Peterborough College, which is one of 44 regional independent centres approved to deliver the ATA assessments for local technicians.
Paul Cooper, head of automotive studies at the college, hosted the event and the IMI's head of PR, Stuart Brooks, gave a presentation on ATA. Three technicians have gained their ATA accreditation through Peterborough College so far.

ATA at MechanEx

This year’s MechanEx trade show at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry – targeted at the independent motor trade and endorsed by the IMI – provided an opportunity for the Institute to take a stand to promote Automotive Technician Accreditation.

The exhibition attracted over 1,000 visitors and among the seminar presenters was diagnostics expert Frank Massey FIMI, the first independent technician to qualify for ATA status. IMI members attending these seminars were eligible to claim a credit for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Students vote this a winner

IMI approved centre Training 2000 is using a “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” type of voting system as part of apprenticeship training.

It’s installed a series of interactive whiteboards at the new automotive Centre of Vocational Excellence in Blackburn, Lancashire.

ACTIVstudio Solution combines an interactive whiteboard with learning and teaching software. Dave Rosthorn, newly appointed resource developer, said: “ACTIVstudio has proved very popular among both apprentices and teaching staff.
“My favourite tool is the ACTIVstudioMV, a voting student response system, very much like that seen on ITV’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire and it is proving a real favourite among apprentices.”

David Bunting, teaching and learning adviser with system supplier Promethean, said: “Many of Training 2000’s tutors are part-time and this interactive system enables them to walk into the classroom, open a file on the computer and easily find all the material needed for the lesson – including teaching resources, work sheets for students and an assessment resource.”

Wannabe F1 technicians triumph

Aspiring race engineers and technicians from schools across the country battled it out recently in the increasingly popular F1 in Schools programme, which tests students’ engineering skills. Teams must design and manufacture a scale model racing car, from balsa wood, to a strict set of criteria, which is then raced on a special sled, similar to a dragster-style run. The most aerodynamic car wins.

A group of students from Richard Hale School in Hertford, which was one of the first UK schools to run the IMI pre-apprenticeship in motor vehicle studies, took part at the regional finals at Ford’s Centre of Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in Rainham, Essex.

Under the tutelage of Mike Langdon, head of engineering at Richard Hale School, the teams had to present their cars to a panel of judges and answer questions on their design method and preparation.
As in Formula One, competition was extremely fierce with only tenths of a second separating the teams. The students from Richard Hale School had obviously done their homework, however, as they achieved two second places and then the team from Year 9, Team Bullet, took overall victory for the South East of England in its year group.

The team went on to the National Final at the NEC, during the Autosport International Show, but were unable to replicate their success, despite a valiant effort.


R J Adams, curriculum manager, Raytheon Professional Services, Germany; M Blume, training manager, BMW Asia Technology Centre, Malaysia; J W Boseley, managing director, Jewelultra, Kent; L W Boseley, sales and marketing manager, Jewelultra, Kent; J P Burch, project director, Maritz Ltd, Buckinghamshire; P A Butler, development programmes manager, Toyota Motor Marketing Europe, Brussels; Cheng Poh Ang, managing director, Yong Ming Motor Sdn Bhd; Malaysia; W K Duffy, managing director, Lex Commercial, Buckinghamshire;

P J James, brand manager, Platinum Toyota, Wiltshire; S M N Kamal Bin Sh Md Amin, group managing director, Naza Kia Sdn Bhd, Malaysia; Koh Bing Kim, managing director, Saga Parts & Service Centre, Malaysia; P V Manji, managing director, TFL Service Centre, London;

T S C McInnes, consultant, Carter & Carter, Cambridgeshire; V Menon, national sales manager, Ford Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Malaysia; G Pearce, sales manager, The Fleet Auction Group, Leicestershire; K T Watson, operations director, City Motor Holdings, Hampshire;

M S Wright, implementation & training consultant, Pinewood Computer Solutions, Birmingham.

A ‘first’ for VQS

Vehicle Quality Solutions has become the first inspection services provider to have its training programmes accredited under the IMI’s Quality Assured Awards (QAA) programme.

VQS trains upwards of 500 delegates a year from various sectors, including vehicle manufacturers, vehicle fleet, leasing, contract hire, auction sector, dealer groups and the commercial vehicle industry.
Commented managing director David Thomas: “Accreditation to the QAA scheme is a major endorsement of our services and represents a coming-of-age for our training provision – IMI sets the standard and we’re very proud to meet the bar.”

Training is offered in three principal areas: vehicle inspection techniques: vehicle inspection standards and repair techniques; and advanced techniques and methods. Additionally there are specialist programmes and bespoke services for Inspect-Collect, HGV/LCV and motorcycle inspection.

On completion, those certified are also eligible to apply for IMI membership, giving them further formal recognition of their skills.

Carter’s plc crown

Carter & Carter Group, provider of government funded vocational learning and outsourced services to large corporations and SMEs, has won the new company of the year award category in the national PLC Awards 2005. 

 The category was open to companies that went public in 2005 and have demonstrated that they are “formidable growth public companies in the making”.

Judges included award sponsors PricewaterhouseCoopers, fund managers and analysts.

Member events

Activity report

Members from Sussex visited the production line at the IBC vehicle plant in Luton where General Motors produces light commercial vehicles for Opel, Renault, Nissan and Vauxhall. Unlike some other production lines, where the bodies are pressed elsewhere and brought in for assembly, IBC does its own pressing, with assembly carried out by a combination of robotic and handheld welders. Each vehicle progresses down the line with its own specification catered for at each station. There are over a 100 variations from a basic van to small luxury buses. 

Peninsula continued their series of lectures on health and safety and employment law, this time for members in the Coventry area. These lectures have been well attended, often highlighting the need for a to change in working practices to comply with the law. Another series is planned for late summer and the autumn with presentations in Sussex and Cheshire already arranged.

ATA showcases continue to be held at centres round the country informing members and other people within the industry about this award winning initiative. 

Members in South Wales attended the third in a series of talks on Wynn’s Haulage with this one covering the transportation of Concorde. 

Dave McCall and Malcolm Mucklin of Transtec Garage Equipment gave South Humberside MA a Power Point lecture and practical hands-on demonstration of analysis of engine fault codes. 

Essex activities continued with two visits, the first to P & A Wood Rolls-Royce restoration workshops and the second to D & G Cars accident and recovery workshop. 

In addition to the MA network, Bridgwater College (see Somerset below), ReMIT Croydon and most recently Liverpool Community College will be assisting with CPD Lectures in the coming months.

Area contacts and forthcoming Member Association and Member events:

Contact: Michael Ward 01274  672303
Contact: Ernie Bates 01270 255698

County of Essex
Wed 5 July 8pm: Annual Awards Evening at SEEVIC College, Runnymeade Chase, Benfleet, Essex SS7 1TW.  For further details contact Mark Bartle 0776 964498.
Please note a new date for the Annual Classic Car show at Fanshaws - Sunday 2nd July 2006.
Contact: John Morrish 01279 4358326 (H) 01992 511521 (W) 0790 4701312 (M)

East Kent
See joint programme feature
Contact: Julian Randall 01843 584547

East of Scotland
Contact: Alan McCulloch  01738636361 (evenings only)

Hull and District
Mon 3 Apr 7.30pm: Annual General Meeting, The Royal British Legion Club, Ladygate Beverley.
Tues 16 May 7.30pm: A lecture on local waterways. The Royal British Legion Club, Ladygate Beverley.
There is ample free parking after 6pm in the Saturday Market, opposite St Mary’s Church, Beverley.
Contact: Frank Gouldsbrough 01964 550902

Contact: George MacDonald 01463 790731 (H)

Contact: Tony Starmer 01509 853254

Thurs 25 May 6.30pm: Annual General Meeting followed at 7.30pm by the Annual Prestige Lecture, Sheldon Park Hotel, Kylemore Road.
For further details on this event and enquiries for the Wakefield Cup Golf Classic, due to be held in May, please contact as below.
Contact: Joe O’Connor 016291071 Mobile 0872800314 E-Mail

Mid Yorkshire (Leeds)
Contact: Michael Hare 01937  585158 (H)

Contact: Jerry Buckley 021 382230 (H)
Tues 25 Apr 7.30pm: Peugeot HDI Technology by Tarn Ennis, Product Quality Engineer for Peugeot GB. Howes of Fakenham, Norwich Road, Fakenham, NR21 8AZ. Contact for this particular event at Howe: Andrew Taylor 01328 864035.
Contact:  Pio Altarelli 01986 895559

Contact: Suzanne Barsby 01992 511521

Wed 12 Apr 8pm: Annual General Meeting followed by a lecture on motor sport.
All meetings held at the Oxford Thames Four Pillars Hotel, Sandford-on-Thames, Oxford,
OX4 4GX.
Contact:  Peter Lang 07791 646105 email

Thurs 25 May 7pm: Common rail diesel injection, a practical demonstration and lecture by Kevin Crangles, Regional Training Manager, Automotive Aftermarket (AA/SEU), Robert Bosch Ltd.
Wed 12 Apr 7.00 pm: Vehicle air conditioning by Nick Wills.
Both these lectures will be held at Bridgwater College, Bath Road, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 PZ
Contact: Ron Foord email

South Humberside
Thurs 6 Apr 7.30pm: Annual General Meeting at Grimsby Institute of F & H Education, Nuns Corner, Grimsby DN34 5BQ.
Contact: Derek Milner 01724 720 486

South Wales
Tues 11 Apr 7.30pm: Annual General Meeting - please attend and support your local Member Association. Volunteers and offers for venues, or expertise for CPD lectures, welcome. Glamorgan Wanderers Rugby Club, Ely, Cardiff.
Contact: Malcolm Green 01443 202724 after 6.00 pm (H)
Wed 26 Apr 7.30pm: Annual General Meeting. The committee invite members to join them. Offers of volunteers, venues, visits and lectures welcome. The Hotel Elizabeth, Copdock.
Contact: Brian Alexander 01936 784512 email

Sat 8 Apr 7.30pm: Sussex MA 80th birthday dinner. Special guest IMI Chief Executive Sarah Sillars. Hickstead Hotel, Jobs Lane, Hickstead, Bolney RH17 5NZ.  Tickets for a three course meal and wine £28 per person from the Chairman. There will be a raffle in aid of BEN – donations for prizes would be much appreciated.

Tues 25 April 8pm: Annual General Meeting, followed by a presentation from Michelle Barrett, IMI Membership Development Manager. Michelle has recently been over in Malaysia and will bring members up to date on what is happening with this new IMI venture, together with other membership development projects.

Thurs 18 May 8pm: CPD qualifying event -  Richard Veasey, Fleet Marketing Manager, Knobb-Bremse, specialists in electronic braking systems and roll stability systems that have previously not been available for heavy goods vehicles.

Thurs 22 June 8pm: Will humans ever become good drivers? Inspector Simon Labbett of Sussex Police will discuss this in relation to a new way of crash investigation. Simon will use reports of specific incidents to illustrate his points.

All meetings are held at the Princes Marine Hotel, Kingsway, Hove, unless stated otherwise.
Contact:  Brian Parnell 01273 734168 (W)

Eddie Fox and Anne Wilson are interested in hearing from past committee members and new enthusiasts with a view to restarting the Teesside Member Association to provide CPD qualifying events for local members.
Contacts:  Eddie Fox 01642 652535 or Anne Wilson 0191 520 8371
Thames Valley
Contact:  Barry Hodgetts

See joint programme feature
Contact: Martin Hutchinson 02893363131

West Kent
See joint programme feature
Contact: Fred Holmes 01634 388886 (H)

Joint programme of events for the South East and Kent Area

East and West Kent IMI Member Associations have collaborated with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) and the Society of Operational Engineers to give a full programme of events up to May 2006.

Please note that to book places for these visits and presentations, especially where numbers are limited and refreshments are being provided, you will need to contact the CILT Membership Services in Corby on 01536 740104 9.00 am – 5.00 pm or email

Thurs 20 Apr 8pm: West Kent Annual General Meeting, Russell Hotel, Maidstone.
Thurs 27 Apr 8pm: European automotive parts distribution. A tour of the HQ and distribution centre of ADL Blueprint, importer of Japanese parts across Europe.
Tues 16 May 8pm: East Kent Annual General Meeting, Half Moon and Stars, Preston.

Shared Interest Group - Classic Cars

Sunday 25 June 2006 - Southern Counties Historic Vehicles Preservation Trust Edenbridge (Kent)
Member Brain Parnell has been able to book a special IMI specific area at this event. All IMI members with classic cars are welcome to attend at this well established classic car show.
We are looking to make this a real IMI classic car event, with attendees being able to parade their vehicles in the main show arena during the course of the day.
Further details and booking forms from Brian Parnell 01273 734168.

Don’t forget the 4th Annual Classic Car Show this year - Sunday 2 July 2006 at Fanshaws
This event is growing each year in terms of classic car entries and money raised for local/national charities. Bookings for this year’s event are already underway. ALL IMI MEMBERS WITH CLASSIC CARS ARE WELCOME.
Further details from John Morrish (w) 01992 511521 (h) 01279 435826 ( m) 0790 4701312 *Please note the change of date from September.

Contacts at Fanshaws for Shared Interest Groups
Classic Cars – John Morrish –
Motorsport – Stuart Brooks –
Motor Industry Consultants – Allan Tyrer –
Motor Cycle – Alan Mackrill –

CPD qualifying events

ATA Showcases – Come and learn about the most important and groundbreaking initiative that the Institute has undertaken to improve standards and public perception of our industry, Automotive Technician Accreditation.  This benchmark of standards of competence has been recognised as long overdue and recently won the Automotive Management Training Award.