Automotive industry employees will benefit from a £400,000 new training facility at Gateshead College, Tyne & Wear aimed at improving the skills of people working in the vehicle body repair and service sector.
The Auto Skills Centre is based at Team Valley, Gateshead and is close to the college’s existing Skills Academy for Automotive, Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics.
The Centre meets the need for a single source facility where companies can send their employees to be up-skilled in the latest techniques and gain industry recognised qualifications, including Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA), improving quality and levels of service.
The industry specific training and accredited courses cover vehicle body and paint repairs, MET, MET Light, Vehicle Damage Assessment (VDA Part A & B), Service Technician Light Vehicle, Diagnostic Technician Light Vehicle and Level 3 Award in Refrigerant Handling, in addition to bespoke short courses and training.
The training programmes are IMI and City & Guilds certified and meet awarding bodies and BSI PAS125 standards. The college was also recently awarded the Training Quality Standard – another mark of the quality of the training it provides.
A dedicated team of fully qualified automotive specialists, headed up by Mick Brophy, director of business, innovation and development at the college, will oversee the delivery of training in fully equipped workshops and training rooms.
The workshop facilities offer an opportunity for individuals to gain further experience and training in the latest techniques in areas such as jig and vehicle body measuring systems, welding and body and paint practices and a full range of Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) assessments to satisfy the latest PAS 125 and PAS 80 standards.
A dedicated area covers Vehicle Damage Assessments (VDA), air conditioning meeting the latest Fgas legislation, MET assessments, diagnostics assessment and on-line testing.
Gateshead College already works with a number of major automotive operators including Evans Halshaw, Jennings Ford, Arnold Clark, Nationwide, Springfield Citroen, Nissan, Drive Vauxhall, Carr & Earl, Joblings, Volkswagen and CF Recovery.
The training will also be available to people who are looking at retraining for a career change or the unemployed looking to re-skill to secure employment.
Mick Brophy said the Centre fills a gap in the market for a fully equipped training facility serving the motor industry in the North East and beyond, where everything is under one roof.
He added: “It is important that automotive industry operators continue to raise the bar when it comes to the standards of vehicle repair, ensuring that they are able to continue to compete during what is proving to be a very difficult time for many automotive businesses.”
“This can be done by ensuring employees are trained in the latest techniques, have the right skill sets and are ATA accredited.
“We are very proud to be the only college in the country to have gained approval to carry out the Vehicle Damage Assessment, supporting the latest BSI standards for assessing the skills and knowledge of body shop employees.
“Businesses that achieve the BSI standards of workmanship will reassure customers that vehicle body and service work carried out on their vehicles is done to the highest standards of quality.
“Gateshead College has a strong reputation both regionally and nationally in the automotive industry for delivering bespoke training programmes to employers, which offer real value and achieve measurable results.
“We are seeing more organisations sending their employees to the centre from as far afield as Scotland and the South East, which reinforces our reputation for delivering outstanding training solutions.
“We are offering a comprehensive suite of competitively priced courses all based at one centre where employees can come to be trained by qualified and knowledgeable experts.
“Our aim is to not only meet but exceed our customers’ expectations with programmes that are specifically designed and delivered to directly benefit individual organisation’s needs.”