Bodyshops lack technology skills

Less than half of UK bodyshops have the technology skillset required to meet the demand for advancing vehicle repairs, according to new research released by Audatex.

The findings have been announced alongside the launch of Audatex’s third eBook Technology & Skills which analyses the training provisions available for current bodyshop technicians and the wider vehicle repair supply chain and how the industry is using technology to continue narrowing the industry skills gap.

With vehicle technology progressing and bodyshops moving towards greater adoption of operational and strategic technology, ensuring staff have the right skills to minimise risks has become a necessity. As a result, more than half of UK bodyshops are now enhancing training for existing staff, through the allocation of training materials and shared knowledge.

The software/hardware now required to bring vehicles back to manufacturer standard has prompted a shift away from traditional manual repair processes and forced bodyshops to adopt new ways of working. However, findings suggest a disparity amongst decision makers and end users, with 53% of bodyshop decision makers believe they have staff with the necessary skills across all areas of the business, compared to just 36% of those on the shop floor.

Despite the need for further investment in training for existing employees, the vehicle repair industry is now embracing the technologically-savvy millennial generation, to help the development of potential employees for job-specific roles. More than half (54%) of bodyshops have apprenticeship schemes in place to recruit fresh talent, with almost the same amount (51%) now recruiting directly from colleges, universities.

Commenting of the research, David Shepherd, regional managing director at Audatex UK and Africa said, ‘The rapid progression of vehicle repair technology of late has created an inevitable skills gaps amongst staff within UK bodyshops. As the industry continues to evolve, it is vital that bodyshop decision makers provide both new and existing staff with the knowledge required to operate new technology, to increase efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.’