Opinion Former Article

IMI Professional Register to offer "better choice and better deals" for UK motorists

In line with the Government's drive to improve customer service through professional standards, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is opening its Professional Register on Thursday 21 April for applications.

The IMI Professional Register will include all individuals in the automotive industry who have proven they have the right qualifications and knowledge to practice professionally within the automotive sector, abide by a code of ethical conduct and who continually maintain their professional standards by committing to continuing professional development (CPD) and proving current competence. IMI members, of which there are more than 16,500, are ideally positioned to become professionally registered and will be first to be invited to join.

In the past it has been hard for consumers to distinguish levels of quality when choosing where to buy, repair or service their vehicle. To help address this the IMI, in consultation with the industry, developed skills accreditation schemes for technicians and managers (ATA and AMA). The Government has recognised in its report published last week "Better Choices: Better Deals", that accreditation has brought about a step change in the automotive sector's attitudes to maintaining skills stating that they have provided "the bridge from historically acquired skills to demonstrating current competence ethically acquired". As of this month over 26,000 individuals have now achieved the ATA standard.

Professional Registration is about continuous investment in skills. Accreditation demonstrates that an individual is good now, but they must stay good. That is why the Professional Register requires individuals to commit to maintaining their skill levels through continuing professional development (CPD).

Over the next three years the IMI will work with all industry partners to achieve a critical mass of professionally registered individuals and encourage businesses to promote individual's inclusion on the IMI Professional Register as a means of assuring ethical behaviour and competent work. The ultimate vision is that consumers will see and demand individual's inclusion on the IMI professional register as a mark of quality.

Sarah Sillars, Executive Chair of the IMI said:
"This is an exciting time for the IMI, our members, the motor industry and the consumer as we take the final step towards establishing real consumer confidence in our industry. Through the IMI Professional Register, our members will be able to demonstrate their commitment to maintaining their skills and consumers will be able to make informed choices about the best place to buy, repair or service their vehicle. I look forward to working with the Industry and Government over the next three years to make this vision a reality for consumers."

Notes to Editors

1 The IMI is the home for members and professionally registered individuals working in the motor industry. It is the industry's Government licensed Sector Skills Council (SSC) the governing body of the ATA and AMA accreditation schemes and is the authoritative source of information, standards, qualifications and apprenticeships for the retail motor industry.

2 The Government report "Better Choice: Better Deals" was published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insight Team (BIT) on 13 April 2011 and can be found here. www.bis.gov.uk.

3 To join the IMI Professional Register an individual must be:
. qualified to level 2 and have the minimum required experience , or hold a current ATA card
. be committed to ethical conduct
. be committed to actively completing CPD

4 The current accreditation schemes run by the IMI - Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) and Automotive Management Accreditation (AMA) allow individuals to demonstrate current competence through assessment. During the coming year the IMI will be encouraging all accredited individuals to show their commitment to maintaining their skills levels through continuing professional development (CPD) which will enable them to join the IMI Professional Register.

5 For more information on the IMI Professional Register and how to join see

7 For further information and media enquiries please contact Simon Bennett, PR Manager on 01992 511521 or 07876 251980 or by e-mail on simonb@motor.org.uk

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