Standard practice

Three new single-skill trailblazer apprenticeship standards are under government review.

Proposed and created by the Collision Repair Sector Trailblazer Group, which is made up of employers and representatives from across the industry, the three draft standards are Vehicle Damage Mechanical Technician; Vehicle Damage Paint Technician; and Vehicle Damage Panel Technician.

Each was created by the Trailblazer steering group and subsequently put out to the industry for comment during September. After taking that feedback on board, the group submitted their draft standards to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) at the end of last month.

BIS then sought official feedback during a two-week public consultation period, which ended on 14 October, and its findings will be passed back to the Trailblazer group for evaluation by 10 November.

It is hoped all three standards will be approved and live next spring.

The Collision Repair Sector Trailblazer Group was set up to address the chronic skills shortage in the market by developing a portfolio of apprenticeship standards to complement existing pathways into the crash repair sector. By including those on the front line in its steering group, and consulting the wider industry throughout the process, it hopes to provide common standards that are ‘of the industry, by the industry and for the industry.’

It first met in January, when Tom Hudd of Thatcham was voted in as chairman. He said, ‘It has always been the objective to create robust technical apprentice standards that will compliment and assist the industry, and that is the aim of the Collision Sector Group. We have worked extremely hard to work in harmony with other groups and to create the standards.’

The Collision Repair Sector Trailblazer Group includes: Christine Maskill (NCR Bodyshop), Darren Blunden (Barrett’s of Canterbury ARC), David Elliot (BMW UK), David Fellows (Ridgeway); Andrew Yolland (LV=); Adam Murray (Aviva), Theo Theodosiou (Solus); Peter Grenfell (VW Group); Dawn Swales (Nationwide Crash Repair); Tom Hudd (Thatcham); David Rooke (AXA); Rob Budd (Ageas); Andy Pennell (Balgores); Marc Fossaluzza (Ford Retail); Chris Mckie (Vizion Network); Rob Ally (XL Motors); Graham Ayles (Apollo).