Fast-Fit Accreditation Added to ATA Scheme
According to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), recent survey results indicate that more than 80 per cent of the population do not know how to tell a good vehicle technician from a bad one. To help UK motorists gain consumer confidence in the automotive repair industry, the institute has administered an Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) scheme since June 2005. The ATA tests the current competence of individuals working in the retail motor industry, and following a pilot programme, the IMI has announced that two levels applicable to technicians working in the fast fit sector have now been added to scheme.
The IMI worked with a variety of organisations involved in fast fit to develop the route, these included Kwik-Fit, ATS Euromaster, National Tyres and Autocare, HiQ, Delphi, Ford and GM. Accreditation in this discipline includes a series of practical assessments incorporating areas such as tyres, exhausts, battery and related components, wheel alignment and customer care. Candidates are also required to take an online knowledge test.
The inclusion of fast-fit related skills testing comes as the ATA scheme announces the accreditation of its 20,000th technician on March 22. “The ATA scheme only started five years ago,” commented IMI executive chair, Sarah Sillars OBE. “To reach 20,000 accredited technicians in such a short amount of time – a rate of ten new members a day – is an incredible achievement.”
The technician to claim the 20,000 milestone was Doug Creed, who works for Kwik-Fit in Bromley, Kent. “The accreditation is great, because it means I’m up always to speed with changes in this fast-moving industry,” said Creed. “It’s easy to see why Kwik-Fit supports the ATA scheme, and I’m pleased to have helped it grow so quickly.”
“ATA has very strong backing from the industry,” agreed Sillars. “Kwik-Fit is a good example of a well known industry name now giving their backing to the initiative. We’re very pleased to have reached this landmark with them. ATA technicians like Doug play an important role in improving public perceptions of our sector”
ATA is a voluntary scheme by which technicians prove their technical competence, and are also bound by an ethical Code of Conduct. “The success of the scheme shows there is a real demand from consumers to know how to find technicians that can get the job done – properly and honestly,” concluded Sillars.