UK: New automotive technician voluntary assessment scheme launched

By just-auto.com editorial team | 16 June 2005

A so-called 'groundbreaking' initiative to raise standards of car servicing and repair by testing the current competence of technicians working in the retail motor industry has been launched.

Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) is a voluntary assessment system designed to clearly recognise technical competence, raise the professional status and credibility of skilled individuals, provide a benchmark for technician recruitment and career development and significantly improve consumer confidence in the retail motor sector.

Having first signed a code of conduct, a technician must pass a series of timed practical tasks, adjudicated by an ATA-registered assessor and an on-line knowledge test, to achieve accreditation.

There are three levels of accreditation, reflecting an individual's job role, experience and qualifications (Master Technician being the highest).

Successful individuals are issued with a unique photo identity card, valid for five years and are listed on a public on-line register.

ATA-registered technicians must be re-assessed after five years to maintain their credentials.

The assessments are based upon National Occupational Standards, to ensure they evolve with changing skills requirements and future innovations in technology. ATA has the backing of Automotive Skills, the Sector Skills Council for the retail motor industry.

Automotive Technician Accreditation has been developed over two years and trialled extensively with a number of founding partners. Other vehicle manufacturers and associated businesses have since become involved including the UK's largest car retail group.

Governance, moderation and administration of Automotive Technician Accreditation is the responsibility of The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).

There are two routes to achieving Automotive Technician Accreditation status, both independently monitored by the IMI, to ensure a consistent process.
One way is via an ATA approved assessment centre, such as a training division of a national service and repair organisation; an independent automotive training provider; or college of further education.

The other is via an ATA-approved vehicle manufacturer assessment programme.