Thatcham Automotive Academy is leading the field again, as one of the first IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) accredited training centres to offer a new senior level ATA (Automotive Technician Accreditation) in Cosmetic Repair.

    Comprising elements from established ATA specialisms, the new Cosmetic Repair ATA also includes a module on basic vehicle appraisal. This combination provides the ideal multi-skilled accreditation for repair technicians who are regularly involved in cosmetic repair.

    For repairers like Aylesbury Panelcraft, with whom Thatcham conducted the successful Cosmetic ATA pilot, the new accreditation offers the opportunity for technicians involved in fast track repair to be accredited without the additional time and expense of getting accreditation in several different disciplines.

    Specifically, the senior level Cosmetic ATA includes modules on vehicle appraisal, colour identification and mixing, rectification of panel damage, use of cold filler, repair of a cosmetic aluminium panel, panel surface preparation, priming, flatting and masking procedures, application of Clear Over Base (COB) metallic paint, the panel preparation and fade out process, as well as removal, replacement and refit of M.E.T. components.

    As with all ATA routes, Thatcham are recommending that candidates attend their preparatory training prior to the accreditation itself, as the ideal approach to successful accreditation.

    “Multi-skilling technicians has the benefit of reducing repair downtime and improving the flow of work. Cycle times can be very much reduced by having a single technician complete all repair tasks,” said Dawn Mullins of Aylesbury Panelcraft, “Thatcham, along with a panel of industry experts, supported the IMI in the development of a Cosmetic ATA that is both challenging and relevant. We chose to send a paint technician and a panel technician for the pilot and after four intensive days – two days training and two days accreditation – both of our technicians returned to work full of enthusiasm, re-invigorated and with a greater understanding and respect of each other’s primary skill.”

    Lesley Upham, Commercial Director – Repair Sector at Thatcham, said, “We are focused on maintaining our position as the industry’s leading Automotive Academy and are continually looking to expand our training and accreditation options, to  develop skills for both repairers and insurers. The addition of this Cosmetic ATA will give technicians the option to be recognised as multi-skilled, and will be a real bonus for their employers.”