A further 17 regional assessment centres have been approved by the Institute of the Motor Industry to offer the online theory test for ATA vehicle damage assessor (VDA) accreditation.
These are in addition to Thatcham’s own assessment centres in Berkshire and Nuneaton.
Demand has increased sharply as more insurers begin to mandate the Thatcham/ BSI Kitemark for their bodyshops.
The Kitemark requires one in four estimators to have proven competency, such as having ATA VDA accreditation.
The online element of the VDA assessment is free until March 31, as it is being funded by the IMI.
Steve Scofield, IMI head of skills development, said: “Raising skill levels to help businesses make a better return and recognising highly skilled operatives is a major driver for the ATA scheme and we’re working to increase the ATA assessment centre network across all disciplines.
“Adding these additional centres for the VDA route is a significant step forward in this process.”
ATA VDA has two sections. The first requires estimators to score at least 70% in a supervised web-based test, which measures knowledge in seven areas, including safety and liability, damage appraisal, repair methodology, salvage categorisation and eScribe usage.
The second element comprises practical assessments at a Thatcham centre.
Regional ATA Assessment Centres
The 17 regional ATA assessment centres offering the VDA online test are: