Developed by the IMI and Thatcham, the programme covers three different bodyshop disciplines - fitting; panel repair; and painting.
The route to accreditation includes a one-day practical assessment either at Thatcham or one of its approved regional training centres around the UK, as well as an on-line examination of knowledge from the IMI. Successful technicians will be accredited for two years, whereupon their validation must be renewed through a further re-assessment.
Should a candidate fail any stage of the process, they will be provided with a training needs analysis and a time-frame for re-application. Successful technicians will have the option of undertaking additional accreditation modules to satisfy specific employer requirements.
Additionally, the programme intends to give individuals industry recognition of their professional competence, which the IMI and Thatcham claims will encourage technicians to seek accreditation to improve their employability and status.
The initiative is being supported by body repair parts distributor Brown Brothers.
The initial fee for the accreditation programme is £195 per technician, which includes two years' registration on the IMI/Thatcham bodyshop accredited technician register.