Thatcham’s Automotive Academy has teamed up with the Institute of Automotive Engineer Assessors to launch the first recognised apprenticeship scheme for vehicle damage assessors (VDAs) in the UK.
The move comes following demand from the industry for this kind of apprentice programme and combines the reputation of Thatcham's apprenticeships with the IAEA, which is dedicated to representing the interests of over 1,500 automotive engineer assessors.
The result is the Thatcham IAEA Assessor Apprentice programme, which addresses concerns over a developing skill and age gap within the industry.
The programme will provide fully funded apprenticeships for 16-19 year old bodyshop assessors, who will complete a two-year block release programme.
Upon successful completion, candidates will gain an IAEA qualification equivalent to apprentice Level 4 as well as a NVQ Level 2 apprenticeship in MET (mechanical, electrical, trim).
Whilst focusing on the very specific skills of vehicle damage assessment, this apprentice programme has been designed to include modules on customer service, panel and paint, producing a new breed of bodyshop assessor or insurance engineer, with an all round appreciation of vehicle assessment and repair.
Alan Doughty, IAEA education officer, said: "As technology within the construction and make up of modern vehicles continues to advance it has become increasingly imperative to recognise this changing landscape and consequently the role of a vehicle assessor, ensuring that those coming into the industry have the skills in place for the future."