The future of Motor Trade training

10 December 2018

With MPs urging the Government to bring forward zero emission car targets to 2032 from 2040 (1), there’s even more urgency in the Motor Trade industry to train technicians to deal with new vehicle technology. 

In the next 15 years, the sector will have to shift its focus to electric and hybrid vehicles, and the maintenance, repair and testing of them will need to meet the same high standards as it currently does for petrol and diesel vehicles. 

Sales of electric vehicles are up by 30% in a year (2), and by 2025 they’re expected to account for 25% of the overall UK car market (3). This rapid switch to alternative fuel vehicles will mean seismic changes, both for repair technicians and the insurance industry... 

Motor Trade repairs for a new era

New types of repairs and maintenance for electric and hybrid vehicles include: 

    • In-vehicle technology: Many of the parts needed to service and repair petrol and diesel cars aren’t needed for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs). It will become more important to know how to reboot and update in-vehicle computer software and remove battery packs.
    • Sensor calibration: Cars are increasingly being fitted with smart features such as rear-view cameras and autonomous emergency braking. These are collectively known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS. They rely on a combination of cameras and sensors to work, and if these get knocked out of place, they will need recalibrating.
    • SMART: Small and Medium Area Repair Techniques are changing the way mechanics fix accident damage. The process allows them to repair only the damaged area without having to replace the entire panel or bumper. It’s ideal for fixing paintwork scratches and minor dents.

Key qualifications for Motor Traders

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) and City & Guilds set the core training requirements for Motor Traders, offering nationally recognised vocational qualifications including VCQs and NVQs.

IMI courses include diplomas in light vehicle maintenance and vehicle parts competence. There are also new courses and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) covering ULEVs, including an electric vehicle eLearning course and a Level 3 Award in Electrically Propelled Vehicle Repair and Replacement.

City & Guilds courses provide on-the-job training for repair technicians, from those new to the industry to experienced mechanics. Its courses include VCQs in vehicle maintenance and repair and a Level 3 Award in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Repair and Replacement.

Thatcham Research’s Automotive Academy provides training for body shop technicians, vehicle damage assessors and insurance engineers wanting to keep up to date with emerging technologies. Its CPD courses now include High Voltage Vehicle Preparation and Assessment and High Voltage Vehicle Awareness. It also offers a course on ADAS and Calibration.

The BSI Kitemark for Vehicle Damage Repair is BS10125. Those who wish to receive the full three categories of the kitemark must now undergo Level 2 training for electric/hybrid vehicle maintenance.

Keeping training records


It’s important for motor traders to record staff members’ continuous development to ensure they’re not held liable for defective workmanship or safety breaches.


Here at NIG, we expect up-to-date records of:

Technical Training

It’s predicted that ADAS technology will have saved more than 2,500 lives and prevented 25,000 serious accidents by 2030 (4). But it will only work if car technicians are equipped with the right skills to calibrate it accurately. For example, if a technician fits a windscreen incorrectly and it’s got autonomous locator sensors on it, they’ll need to recalibrate the sensors. But if they’re not trained to do so, the insured may be held liable.

Health and Safety Training

Electric vehicles can contain circuits running at up to 650V compared with up to 24V for a traditional car. This presents real risks to mechanics and technicians – including roadside repairers – if they’re not properly trained for working with high-voltage electrical vehicles.


The IMI has been campaigning for the Government to invest in training for ULEVs as only 1% of technicians are trained to work safely with high-voltage technology (5).


Employers should carry out a new type of risk assessment as they could be found liable if they don’t comply with safety regulations surrounding working in a technical capacity with electricity.


Assessing new safety standards


New technology means new risks. Make sure you understand how to identify, assess, take action and review these standards by reading our article about the evolving nature of Motor Trade risks.

It’s a good time to be speaking to your motor trade clients about keeping up-to-date training records, the types of 
training available and the changing nature of the Motor Trade market.


NIG's new Motor Trade One product includes defective workmanship and employers’ liability as standard. What’s more, our defective workmanship extends to cover new processes to repair electric and hybrid vehicles including ADAS recalibration.