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Government endorses IMI as sector skills body

The Government has today announced the reappointment of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) as the Sector Skills Council for the automotive retail sector.

In a letter to IMI chairman Steven Nash outlining his decision, business secretary Peter Mandelson said the decision by ministers had been unanimous.

“I would like to warmly congratulate you, your board and the SSC’s staff on this positive outcome, which I know reflects a lot of hard work and commitment on your part,” Mandelson says in the letter.

The effective date for the new licence is November 1. The IMI was first appointed SSC for the automotive sector less than two years ago.

The reappointment comes after a National Audit Office assessment on behalf of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills as part of a relicensing process for all 25 SSCs.

Nash, who is also BMW (UK) aftersales director, said: “The announcement significantly strengthens the IMI’s mandate to improve standards of professionalism in the industry through the qualification, development and recognition of individuals.

“This news means the IMI can continue to work with employers and individuals to focus on delivering a better skilled and recognised workforce and make a positive difference to the way in which the industry develops.”

One of the major objectives for the IMI now will be to build a professional register promoting “competence, accountability and ethical behaviour” incorporating Automotive Technician Accreditation and IMI membership.

This will ensure all members gain maximum recognition and benefit from their affiliation, says the IMI.

Since becoming an SSC in 2007, the IMI has been focussed on demonstrable improvements in productivity and performance through a better trained, qualified and motivated workforce.

Recent initiatives include a service for employers to help them get Government funding for training and help for apprentices facing redundancy due to the recession.

The news of the relicensing of the IMI as a SSC has been welcomed throughout the industry.

Paul Williams, Retail Motor Industry Federation chairman, said the move was “vital” and demonstrated how the industry can work together.

Douglas Robertson, chief executive of the Scottish Motor Trade Association, praised the IMI’s “dynamic nature” that had provided the catalyst for change.

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