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.