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Need for recognising current competence grows stronger

The planned introduction of a Kitemark certification scheme for the crash repair sector in January 2007 will be a major step forward in the motor industry’s collective ambition to raise standards, says the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), which governs Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA).

As a co-sponsor of the Publicly Available Specification (PAS 125), which is being developed by the crash repair industry in partnership with BSI Product Services, the IMI has worked closely with Thatcham to integrate the existing IMI/Thatcham Bodyshop Technician Accreditation scheme into the Automotive Technician Accreditation model, to ensure parity across the whole motor sector.

A requirement for body repair technicians to prove their current occupational competence will be a major element of the new Kitemark, which will recognise the achievement of individuals, as well as adding value to businesses.

As technology advances, recognising skilled technicians in an increasingly competitive and challenging environment is a prime concern for employers and consumers. More vehicle manufacturers have signed up to the Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) initiative, which now has more than 1,000 accredited individuals since launching in June 2005.

ATA accredited technicians are bound by a Code of Conduct, which links proof of their current technical competence to high standards of ethical behaviour. Accreditation is valid for a period of five years, whereupon technicians must be re-assessed to maintain their credentials.

Alan Mackrill, IMI director of learning and skills, commented:

“The successful introduction of ATA has galvanised the motor sector into creating a culture for recognising competence, in line with ever increasing commercial pressures. It is acknowledged that high performing businesses are the result of high performing skilled people and we are delighted that Thatcham is taking the lead in bringing the ATA brand into the crash repair sector.”