DRIVERS need to make sure their car is being properly serviced by a qualified mechanic, says the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). To help drives do this, it has launched a government-backed scheme called the Professional Register.While there are around 175,000 people in the UK who call themselves automotive technicians, the IMI says it can only recommend around 27,000 as having the required skills and competence to carry out work to the required standard in their specialism.

Steve Nash, the IMI’s CEO highlighted the reasons behind the creation of the new Professional Register: ‘Many drivers will be unaware that the motor industry is unregulated and that anyone can set themselves up to work on cars. However, the reality is that just because someone is employed in a workshop, does not necessarily mean that they have the skills and expertise to carry out maintenance and repairs correctly, or indeed safely.’

The IMI also points out that modern cars are very complex, with even a 10-year old using more computing power than it took to put a man on the Moon.

Nash added: ‘unlike other professions, such as gas engineers, there is no statutory requirement for motor technicians to prove they have these skills. This contributes to the sadly familiar scenario of repeat visits to a garage for a single fault, often due to poor diagnosis, and undoubtedly has ramifications around the safety of any work undertaken.’

The IMI’s searchable Professional Register is part funded by UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and currently contains 40,000 qualified and competent individuals in a variety of roles across the motor industry – with around three quarters of this number in technical roles. There are plans to expand this number to 50,000 in 2014.

It is the only place to find professionals who have been recognised by the IMI for their experience, continually keeping their skills up-to-date and for their commitment to ethical working practices. The public can access the IMI’s Professional Register at www.imiregister.org.uk.

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