Businesses employing technicians who have achieved Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) status, have reported increased motivation and team morale as a result of the national recognition afforded by the ATA scheme, which launched last year. Some 1,500 vehicle technicians across the UK hold an ATA photo identity card and the initiative’s governing body, the Institute of the Motor Industry, which is the sector’s professional association for individuals, is seeking to double this number by the end of 2006. Simon Wight, managing director, Whites Motors, a Unipart Car Care Centre in Southsea, which was part of the ATA pilot programme, commented:“ATA has been an excellent motivator for my team. Accreditation is the only way forward as technology is changing at a very fast pace, so it is vital for everyone to keep up to date. ATA gives great benefit to the employer and employee and is this year’s must have.” Alan Anderson, group service director, Lifestyle Europe, which employs 11 accredited technicians within its Ford dealerships across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, said:“We have found that any training or assessment that recognises and rewards individuals is good for morale. The ATA scheme is a universal standard so it is a true gauge of technical ability, which has been very well received by our technicians. We anticipate having over 40 ATA accredited technicians by the end of June this year and will use the scheme to assess new recruits to our business in the future. Awareness of the scheme is being boosted by businesses which employ accredited technicians generating significant positive local publicity. A number of ATA showcase evenings have taken place at approved assessment centres around the country with more planned over the next few months, which are proving to be a good way of communicating the benefits and details of the scheme to people at a local level, as well as answering any questions or concerns.