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Motor industry unveils national accreditation scheme for technicians

An 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 today.

Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) is a voluntary assessment system designed to recognise technical competence, raise the professional status and credibility of skilled individuals, provide a benchmark for technician recruitment and career development and 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):

  • Service maintenance technician
  • Diagnostic technician
  • Master technician

    Successful individuals are issued with a photo identity card, valid for five years and are listed on a public on-line register. ATA-registered technicians must be reassessed 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.

    ATA has been developed over two years and trialled with a number of founding partners, including: BMW; DaimlerChrysler; Durham Constabulary; Ford; Hertz; Nationwide Autocentres; Toyota and Unipart. Other vehicle manufacturers and industry stakeholders have since become involved, including AM100 ranked first, Pendragon the UK’s largest car retail group.

    The recommended fee for ATA assessment is under £195, although this may vary regionally. There is also an individual accreditation fee of £50, inclusive of registration, on-line testing, issuing of a photo identity card and all administration.

    Steve Nash, BMW aftersales director and IMI Chairman, says: "The introduction of a unilateral benchmark of technical competence for the retail motor sector will clearly identify skilled individuals, which is as important to consumers as it is to employers seeking qualified technicians.

    ATA will reinforce efforts to improve career development and elevate the status of a highly important and creditable profession."

  • Full details of Automotive Technician Accreditation can be viewed at www.automotivetechnician.org.uk
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