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BRIT, the “British Repair Industry Trailblazer” group hold inaugural

BRIT, the “British Repair Industry Trailblazer” group, held their first ever (virtual) meeting on Tuesday 6th October. The group, formed by the merger of the two separate industry trailblazer groups – AutoRaise and The Collision Repair Sector Group – are taking responsibility for the ongoing management and development of five apprenticeship standards; Paint Technician, Panel Technician, MET Technician, Automotive Repair Technician (multiskilled) and Vehicle Damage Assessor.

The first meeting, led by Christine Maskill, MD OF NCR Bodyshops, who was recently elected as Chair of the group, was very well attended. The vast majority of the 35 members were able to attend and each were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and the reason for their desire to participate in this group. The agenda was focused on the immediate and short-term challenges that the group will be tasked with resolving. First and foremost, the Accident Repair Technician end point assessment needs to be reviewed urgently as the first cohorts of apprentices reach the gateway for completion of their apprenticeship.

“It’s a really important piece of work and it needs to be addressed urgently as there are young people who are ready to graduate now and need the assessment in place” Christine explained.

“A number of hurdles have presented themselves over the course of the last year or so, but the group are really motivated to find and implement the solution”. The meeting was joined by Sarah Walker, the groups relationship manager from the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IfATE), who has offered hers and her colleagues support to the group in this key area. A drafting panel, that includes repairers, training providers and assessment organisations, has been formed with a brief to create a workable assessment that is ready to be delivered by year end.

To support the sector the group were asked to nominate a body or person to be on the directory of professional and employer led bodies. This body and those on it will provide technical and sector specific support to Ofqual who will be responsible for quality assurance of apprenticeship standards and end point assessments. Tom Hudd, Technical Manager for the NBRA, with full support of the members of BRIT, volunteered for this undertaking.

Tom stated “With NBRA being the only recognised trade body for vehicle repairers and having a deep understanding of the sectors skills agenda and needs I felt it was right to put myself forward for this important role”.

Future initiatives that BRIT will be undertaking include the review of the VDA and MET assessment plans and they also intend to tackle the task of creating parity between the English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh governing bodies for apprenticeship programmes to enable a clear apprenticeship delivery and assessment programme for the whole of the industry across the UK. BRIT recognises this will be a significant challenge during 2021 but as the self-elected champions of apprenticeship standards in the UK vehicle repair industry, are committed to create some positive momentum through dialogue with the various devolved governments.

If any industry stakeholder would like to find out more about BRIT and its work, please contact Jen Evans at AutoRaise, who are funding the groups administration and support function. 

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