Women shopping for good garages to carry out MOT’s, servicing and repair work for family cars should put ATA at the top of their ideal shopping list. But what does it mean I can hear you ask?
ATA stands for Automotive Technician Accreditation and is a voluntary scheme to test the practical skills and supporting theory of individuals working in the motor industry.
The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is the governing body responsible for maintaining the ATA register of individuals and issuing their photo ID cards.
I am often told by old hands in the industry that they have a previous qualification (going back a bit perhaps…) but that they know what they are dong because of their daily experience repairing and servicing cars. Yes, a qualification is a proof of learning but ATA is about PROVING CURRENT COMPETENCE at a given time and then keeping up to date in the fast moving motor industry. ATA cardholders are also required to renew this accreditation every five years.
Not only is this a badge to illustrate fitness to repair and service ALL makes of cars but he/she has also signed up to the following ethical Code of Conduct; which is what FOXY likes most about ATA, truth be told.
- Uphold the standing of the profession and conduct themselves in such a manner as not to bring the profession into disrepute
- At all times be strictly professional in their approach to the public, business colleagues and all those whom they meet in their day to day business activities
- Maintain professional competence and skills in respect of all developments and legislation applicable to this profession (CPD)
- Perform their duties and observe their responsibilities to their employers, staff and the public with integrity, courtesy and consideration
- Take all reasonable steps to ensure that work undertaken by staff under their control is performed with integrity, courtesy and consideration
- Not incur personal gain through abuse of their professional position
- Work within the framework of the law at all times, particularly relating to the operation of the organisation with which they are connected
- Respect the confidentiality of any information given by customers, employers, staff and suppliers
- Not directly, indirectly or unfairly injure the reputation of another accredited technician
- Encourage staff under their control to raise their educational standards and skill through training and development (CPD)
If any ATA technician behaves badly after signing up to this standard they will be reprimanded and may even lose their ATA status depending on the circumstances and remedy.
This commitment makes a real difference for me in an industry with so many complaints ranging from cutting costs to the extent of charging for services they don’t deliver and patronising behaviour towards women. Were ATA a compulsory accreditation scheme before garages were licensed to trade, then we’d have an industry to be proud of!
But in the meantime, FOXY Choice’s advice for wary women keen to favour one of the best good garages near them is to ask for evidence of ATA in the garage and/or dealership. Alternatively look for the ATA logo at the FOXY Choice female friendly garage website and you can also check that ATA claims or logo use are up to date at the ATA register.
Finally, if you get the same answer as I often do – ‘we are qualified (going back a while…) and have loads of experience’ please suggest to the business in question that it makes good sense for them to become ATA registered to prove their competence to do the job. And make your own mind up whether to favour ATA technicians in future.