Tomorrow’s world – ITAS
ITAS, specialists in bodyshop training, software and auditing, has opened the doors of its new Training Academy in Milton Keynes. Set across two floors, the 33,000sqft training centre has been designed from the ground up to meet the needs of tomorrow’s automotive technicians. bodyshop magazine went along to find out more.
ITAS, part of DAC Holdings, is a trusted training provider for vehicle manufacturers including Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, and has unrivalled access to the latest model bodyshells and repair methodologies. Its Training Academy therefore boasts high quality equipment and technology, which has been hand-picked by ITAS from across the globe to give candidates the right tools to follow the right standards to make the right repair, time after time.
The business provides Quality Assured Assessment (QAA) courses developed in partnership with vehicle manufacturers and to IMI frameworks. Candidates can follow courses in panel, paint, mechanical, electrical, trim (MET) and vehicle damage assessor (VDA). Complementary professional development training in health and safety, first aid and business topics is also available.
‘ITAS is committed to a scientific approach to repair which focuses on standards, detail and quality,’ said Tony Young, managing director at ITAS. ‘With the opening of the academy we have set the standard for automotive training by providing a learning experience which is second to none.’
‘We know that time away from the bodyshop is valuable and that training is an investment, so we have shaped our teaching to give the best results and the best value for money. Every minute of every day is designed to give the ideal combination of theory, practice and reflection within a professional, supportive learning environment.’
Key partners for ITAS include BASF, which has adopted the academy as its home for delivering paint application training to its repairer networks and manufacturers within the UK. BASF’s technical manager, Colin Drain said, ‘The attention to detail at the ITAS academy is remarkable. ITAS has a level of professionalism and commitment to quality which sets it apart, and BASF looks forward to a long and rewarding partnership with the team.’ Mike Strydom, BASF national head trainer, agrees. ‘I am delighted to be able to operate our paint application training from the ITAS academy. It fits our training needs perfectly and is the best facility of its kind I have seen,’ said Mike.
Among the academy’s facilities are ready-made technical training areas and classrooms; dual cyclonic paint booths specifically designed for continuous training; large paint mixing rooms suitable for group tuition; isolated welding zones including a separate high-specification area for composite panel training, and a dedicated apprentice training area.
‘We see training as a means to the end of helping candidates build fulfilling and lifelong careers within our industry,’ said Tony. ‘As a training centre, we are here to ensure that vehicles are repaired efficiently and safely by technicians who share a common vision and are committed to ongoing personal development.’
‘The Training Academy has generated significant interest, and we are already discussing long-term plans with a number of strategic partners. Though the support of critical industry stakeholders is very welcome, ITAS has always been proudly independent and I am committed to ensuring that the entire industry has access to our facilities,’ explained Tony.
ITAS has worked closely with a number of vehicle manufacturers for many years including, amongst others, Mazda Motors UK which is highly enthused by the development of the new ITAS Training Academy. Mazda UK’s partnership with ITAS covers bodyshop auditing and assessment, technical training and online management reporting. Tony and the ITAS team have helped Mazda build what David Elphick, parts and accessories manager, Mazda Motors UK calls ‘a robust and effective network of bodyshops able to repair Mazda vehicles in accordance with our stringent standards.’
David said, ‘The ITAS Academy is a stunning facility and I am very pleased to be able to provide such a first-class training environment to our technicians. A vital element of quality assuring the network is delivering high-quality training which keeps all Mazda technicians up-to-speed with the latest methodologies and manufacturing innovations.
‘ITAS is central to Mazda Motors UK’s body and paint programme. They are passionate about vehicle repair and with their end-to-end package of network assurance, software, data analysis and bodyshop training they have brought much-needed innovation to our industry.’
Porsche Cars Great Britain is another of the vehicle manufacturers ITAS works closely in partnership with and since 2013, ITAS has independently audited all body repair facilities recommended to the national network of Porsche Centres. The development of the new Training Academy aims to build on that approach.
Stephen Pottinger, body repair and roadside assistance services manager, Porsche Cars Great Britain Ltd, said, ‘As auditors and software developers, ITAS has brought significant value to the Porsche body repair programme. They understand the business and the industry that we work within, and in particular the challenges involved in repairing our vehicles which feature so much advanced technology.
‘The IT systems ITAS has developed for this purpose work in complete partnership with our own online systems to allow all stakeholders a view of audit assessments created for each repair facility.’
Stephen continued, ‘Consistency is at the heart of our business model and ITAS’s innovative system helps the recommended repairers to meet Porsche’s strict operating standards. We believe that complete transparency is a prerequisite when developing a business relationship, so we give all the recommended body repairers direct and daily access to the ITAS system via the Porsche online platform.’
And so the ITAS philosophy is clear – it wants every technician in the country to benefit from its high quality offering and is making sure its doors are open to all – whether part of a manufacturer programme or not. The new Training Academy therefore very much looks set to be a catalyst in creating the automotive technicians of the future – an exciting prospect for all stakeholders.