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Skills accreditation a major theme for ATS 2006

The increasing importance of identifying and developing the current competence of technicians will be a major aspect of next April’s Automotive Trade Show, which incorporates the Skills Centre.

Following this summer’s high profile launch of the retail motor industry’s Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) initiative, aimed at individuals working in the passenger vehicle sector, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) will be showcasing the scheme at ATS, having registered more than 1,000 technicians since launch. Similarly, in the Skills Centre, the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE) will be exhibiting its IRTEC scheme for testing the competence of technicians employed in the commercial and passenger vehicle sectors.

As technology advances, a means of recognising skilled technicians in an increasingly competitive and challenging environment is a prime concern for employers and consumers. In their roles as sector-specific professional bodies, the IMI, which governs ATA and the SOE, which governs IRTEC, respectively, are engaging all relevant parts of the wider motor industry in a concerted effort to raise the status of highly skilled individuals and encourage a culture of technical development. The two organisations have been involved with ATS and CV Show for many years and were among exhibitors at the successful inaugural Skills Centre at the CV Show and ATS earlier this year, which was spearheaded by SOE. This will be repeated at next year's show, which looks set for considerable growth.

"Training and technical professional development will be at the forefront of the Show next April", said Richard Gibbs, CV Show Committee Chairman. "Many exhibitors will be staging demonstrations on their stands and have technical people available with advice and solutions to problems."

One such company is First Line. Peter Joyner, managing director, sees this as the main reason for their participation. He commented: "Even the simplest task is becoming increasingly complex, as vehicle makers build ever more complex models. It is vital that technicians are kept up-to-date with modern technology, particularly for the independent service provider. Let's be honest, the 'grease monkey' image of yesteryear has little in common with the operating theatre presentation of today's top garages and bodyshops."

Next year's CV Show and ATS at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, is open from Tuesday 25 to Thursday 27 April inclusive. It is a business-to-business event with a proven track record as one of the biggest and most successful of its type in Europe.

The event is owned by the CV Show Partnership, comprising the Road Haulage Association, the Institute of Road Transport Engineers, a professional sector of the Society of Operations Engineers and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

For further information, please contact Robin Dickeson, CV Show and ATS press officer on 02073 449 222 or rdickeson@smmt.co.uk