A ground-breaking initiative to take professional standards in the vehicle body repair sector to a new level is launched today with the introduction of the first national accreditation scheme for individual body fitters, painters and panel repair technicians:
The IMI/Thatcham Bodyshop Technician Accreditation Programme
Developed by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) and Thatcham during a year of collaboration, the programme involves the rigorous assessment of technicians through a robust and regulated process. It covers three different bodyshop disciplines, and accreditation is awarded progressively at three levels*.
Additionally, the programme gives individuals specific industry recognition of their professional competence, which the IMI and Thatcham claims will encourage technicians to seek accreditation, as a means of improving their employability and status.
The route to accreditation includes a demanding one-day practical assessment either at Thatcham or one of its approved regional training centres and an on-line examination of knowledge from the IMI. Successful technicians will be accredited for two years, whereupon their validation must be renewed through a further re-assessment.
In a bid to highlight the importance of both the promotion and regulation of skills within the sector, the IMI/Thatcham bodyshop technician accreditation programme is being supported by leading crash repair distributor, Brown Brothers. Collectively, the three partners involved believe that a process of individual accreditation is the preferred solution to raising standards, addressing skills shortage issues and improving consumer confidence.
The new accreditation programme was also designed to tackle concerns highlighted in a research study carried out by the IMI last year, which looked at technician recruitment processes, training development and competence assessment across the whole UK motor industry, including the body repair sector. The key findings were:
The initial fee for the accreditation programme is £195 per technician, which includes two years’ registration on the IMI/Thatcham bodyshop accredited technician register.