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IMI to phase in individual 'licences to practice'

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has announced a professional updating scheme for its 25,000-strong membership which could lead to the issue of individual licences to practice in vehicle service and maintenance.

Under a phased introduction starting in April next year, IMI members who work in a technical discipline will be expected to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) on a voluntary basis or a period of two years.

From April 2005 this will become a mandatory requirement for maintaining full IMI membership across all disciplines, both technical and non-technical.

This initiative, claims the IMI, will help kick start a concerted industry trend for technicians to remain up-to-date with new technologies, while helping to elevate the status of the automotiove service and repair sector.

The institute, which unveiled a new corporate identity this week, believes a move towards the licensing of individuals would provide a more radical solution to raising industry standards and consumer confidence.

“Now is the time for a robust, regulated and policed systems of ensuring that those employed to service and maintain vehicles are universally accredited,” says the IMI's chief executive Sarah Sillars.

“As an industry we have a fantastic product, but this is not reflected in the quality of its support structure. At present it is possible to trade without any qualifications, which is ridiculous.”

Sillars adds that a voluntary accreditation scheme would simply confuse consumers. “There has to be more onus on the skills of the individual if the profession is to improve its public status,” she says.

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