If you work in the motor trade industry then you will have definitely heard of the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI). The IMI is one of the biggest associations in the motor trade industry, whose aim is to ensure that best practices are adhered to throughout the industry with the help of consistent training. Some motor traders are even members of the IMI, which requires them to have extensive training, qualifications and experience in the motor trade industry.
As the IMI is so influential when it comes to motor traders, they often introduce new practices and schemes in order to improve the industry, and recently they have announced that they are going to diversify their offerings. One of the reasons behind this is that they want to boost their commercial proposition and therefore be less reliant on government funding and more autonomous.
Discussing the association’s decision, CEO Steve Nash said: “The new look IMI will apply all of its considerable skills to support the automotive retail sector with flexible, adaptable solutions; blending qualifications, accreditations, membership, professional registration and quality assured awards to meet the demands of the intensely diverse sector we operate in, both in the UK and overseas. For the past three years the IMI has been heavily focused on government funded activities.
“This has left us with a number of assets and considerable knowledge which will allow us to deliver key support to the automotive retail sector going forward. The Institute’s new strategy will focus on leveraging this situation to create an independent, commercially focused organisation.” The IMI are also planning on developing their business overseas in order to attract members of the motor trade industry from various countries.
Mr Nash said: “Membership will play a large part in the IMI’s new strategy, with a robust offering for the international market, where demand for UK based qualifications and recognition is high, being developed over the next year. Also in place are plans to connect IMI Awards learners with IMI membership, opening up a new market of between 50,000 and 70,000 individuals each year.”
The IMI is already making waves in Malaysia due to the fact that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government in order to try and improve standards in the motor trade industry. Furthermore, last month the company acquired Automotive Technician Training (ATT), enabling them to offer training across the world online. After the company bought ATT last month, Nash said: “As a well-known and established provider of automotive educational resource, ATT is a perfect match for the IMI’s new strategic plan.
“As we look to move into new countries and develop our existing training and educational offerings, ATT will offer us a flexibility and in-house expertise which will allow us to adapt to any new challenges we may face, as well allowing us to increase our reputation for providing high quality automotive learning solutions.” ATT already have contracts with businesses in the US, South Africa, Nigeria and Slovakia, which means that the IMI are now perfectly placed to expand their offerings across the globe.
In order to achieve their goals the IMI also believe that there should be what they call a ‘common currency’ when it comes to qualifications for professionals in the automotive industry. Mr Nash said: “We are a meritocracy; we all know the apprentice who ended up running the show, but we should not glory in being under-qualified, particularly when we are spending all this money on training.”
In order to achieve this, the IMI are planning on working with twenty nine manufacturer brands and the top ten retailers to create a national accreditation. At the moment, there is no government standards for the automotive industry, which means that up until now they have practically regulated themselves except for when it comes to legal requirements or measures that would void their motor trade insurance policies.
With the help of the IMI it looks as though the motor trade industry will be better regulated in the future, with certain qualifications becoming more valuable to motor traders. This could not only help motor traders expand their businesses but also learn new skills that will enable them to implement best practices into their business strategies.