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IMI to launch new qualification scheme

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is introducing a management equivalent to its technician qualification, Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA).

Automotive Management Accreditation (AMA) will begin as a pilot in September and is due to be rolled out across the marketplace by April 2009.

The test scheme will use at least 50 individuals from different sub-sectors.

When fully introduced, accreditation centres will include manufacturers and dealer groups.

Sarah Sillars, IMI chief executive, said: “Instead of training which says one qualification fits all, we’re going to try and apply a consistent standard – one where there are many different ways to reach that level.

“We know all the pitfalls from the ATA and we know all eyes are on us.”

She added that 14% of training is management-based, yet there was no umbrella qualification for recognition.

“Most businesses want four things – operational management, financial management, staff that are skilled at handling people issues and customer relationship issues.

This is what we are aiming at,” Sillars said.

The move follows the failure of Automotive Retail Management Standards (ARMS) programme, a venture for Automotive Skills in partnership with Chartered Management Institute and IMI.

It wasn’t well received in the industry, which Sillars attributes to “onerous assessment requirements which were a significant barrier to completing the qualification”.

However, ARMS has not been stopped and some participants are still working through the qualification.

Ultimately it will be replaced with AMA, which intends to demonstrate competence as an automotive manager, but with a much less intrusive and time-consuming assessment requirement.

Sillars described the scheme as “a similar approach to ATA which provides a leveller and occupational benchmark for technical training”.

ATA standard is set to reach 10,000 qualified technicians by July, following an 8,000 benchmark in April.

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