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Almost 90% of professionals working in the automotive retail sector agree that some form of licence to practise is needed for vehicle technicians, according to the results of a survey conducted by IMI. Nearly 650 responses were received for the online IMI poll which was conducted with the help of various trade publications. 88.5% of respondents came back in favour.
IMI is currently working to raise the profile of the issues surrounding the licensing debate with the general public and politicians. In October IMI CEO Steve Nash took part in interviews which were broadcast on all 39 BBC radio national stations as well as 13 commercial radio stations across the United Kingdom. These highlighted to the public for the first time the lack of licensing in the sector and the need for consumers to check the qualifications of people who worked on their vehicles.
“We have seen a great deal of momentum behind the licensing issue over the past few months in the sector and the results of our survey paint a very clear picture of support for the principle of regulating technicians. This is great news both for the sector and consumers, who both stand to gain from the increased focus on skills, training and quality of workmanship that a licence would encourage.
Discussing next steps, Steve continued,
“We have gained a great deal of feedback from the survey and from discussions going on across the sector with industry professionals. We will be using this information to form a solid proposal to present to the sector and to MPs. We believe a working model for licensing could be formed based on the IMI’s Professional Register, with ‘Continuing Professional Development’ (CPD) and current competency requirements placed on technicians.”
A selection of comments received anonymously through the survey included the following:
“It took me 6 years of training to be able to carry out professional vehicle repairs and work unsupervised, nearly as long it takes to train as a junior doctor, so licensing should be compulsory.”
“Having a licence system will not only given the consumer better workmanship, I am sure that it will drive higher wages for the correct personnel.”
“We have a network of 220 Service Centres and would like to support this initiative. It is important to us that we support any initiative that drives better quality and service to consumers, together with enhancing the reputation of individuals within the industry.”
“This is something the industry has talked about since I was an apprentice back in 1979. It is the only way forward to improve the perception of the industry and get away from the poor image portrayed constantly on TV. We have always worked in a sector that requires an immense amount of training and constant updating of these skills and knowledge, so it good to see at last some real moves forward.”
“Manufacturers have spent millions making vehicles safer and more efficient, but anyone can repair them without any form of training or experience. More manufacturers are looking at electric propulsion systems, which have the potential to kill or injure unless technicians are trained to use the correct procedures for repairs and maintenance. Surely this is a reason why licensing should be mandatory.”
“Any regulation that ensures the integrity and quality of technicians working on motor vehicles must be supported. Extending training through approved providers and ATA to a license to practice would be a logical framework for trainees/technicians to progress through. This pathway to excellence must be available to all throughout the industry, franchised and independents alike.”