Lesley Upham, Thatcham communications director and chairman of the new SkillAuto Steering Committee, said: “This alliance with the IMI will bring continued success and new impetus to SkillAuto.
“With the resources of the IMI we can provide a focused set of competitions which reflect industry need and stretch our young competitors.”
The IMI said the addition of SkillAuto would help its plans to make a career in the sector attractive, while highlighting the world-class skill levels at which individuals now need to work at in the sector.
This would “reinforce their status as professional engineers and deliver long overdue status and respect”.
Candidates for the 2009 Worldskills in Canada are in the process of being selected through a series of regional heats, before finals take place in June.
In 2005, Andrew Blair won a gold medal in body repair in Helsinki and last year Jonathan Lloyd and Simon Noble each scooped a bronze medal in body repair and vehicle painting, respectively, in Japan, competing against finalists from 48 countries.