A new assessment for those working in cosmetic repair has today been added to the Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) scheme.

    Cosmetic or SMART repairs have been developed to offer a fast and cost effective way of repairing vehicle damage. The repairs are kept to the affected area only; as a result they are far smaller and take much less time to repair than a full bodyshop repair.

    The role of a technician working in this area is evolving becoming a mixture of the three conventional bodyshop disciplines (MET, Panel, Paint).

    The accident repair sector have been asking for an ATA route to suit differing business needs rather than the conventional approach of dedicated job roles of the MET (Mechanical, Electrical and Trim), Panel and Paint technician within a bodyshop.

    With investment support from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), the IMI, who govern the scheme, have now been able to develop this new route via a collaborative approach with employers and training providers.

    The route comprises of three levels and will provide a measure of their technical competence and in-turn provide confidence in the skills and ability of the technician to the consumer.  This new route also provides a key solution for employers as it aligns to the requirements in PAS 125 category 1 & 2.

    Cosmetic repair organisation AutoRestore® has been one of the first to become involved since taking part in the pilot phase in September.  One of their technicians, James Hayden has become the first in the UK to achieve the ATA standard in this new route.

    James underwent a rigorous two day assessment at AutoRestore® HQ in Rushden, Northants in which he had to perform all aspects of the mobile repair operator under the close scrutiny of two external assessors.

    Commenting on his achievement, James said: “I knew it would be tough because I had to cover some very challenging tasks under close supervision by not only the IMI, but our own AutoRestore® assessor as well. The assessment involved things like blending a 3 stage white earlescent finish, an aluminium repair preparation, all aspects of setting up a fully compliant mobile rig and a 30 question multiple choice written test.

    It was a really intensive assesment but I was so delighted at the end of day two when they told me that I had passed and I was the first accredited cosmetic repair technician in the UK!”

    AutoRestore® has 150 technicians covering the country and starting early next year, all of them will undertake ATA assessment.

    Other industry partners who took part in the pilot included Dent Devils, Thatcham, S&B Automotive, GTG and Revive.

    For further information about the new route visit