Leading commercial vehicle manufacturer DAF Trucks, which has signed up to the Institute of Road Transport Engineers Certificate (IRTEC) technician accreditation scheme, has had 500 of its technicians accredited since becoming the first truck manufacturer to adopt the scheme throughout its entire dealer network.
The scheme, which was launched in January, assesses the competence of technicians who maintain and repair vehicles in the heavy goods, service and passenger carrying industries, with the technician assessments undertaken by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Tony Shepherd, DAF’s After Sales Services Manager, said:
"The IRTEC accreditation scheme, which is fully endorsed by all our dealerships and technicians, is raising standards to the highest possible level across our entire network. The aim is for all our technicians to receive accreditation over the next two years or so, giving our customers the utmost confidence in our ability to provide a consistently high standard of service."
"With the ever increasing focus on OCRS, DAF believes that DAFcheck (DAF’s electronic service sheets) coupled with irtec technician licensing, gives every truck operator the best opportunity to protect their O-licence."
Lawrie Alford, FTA’s Head of Automotive, is convinced that regular technical training and assessment of technicians will improve fleet standards and performance. He said:
"By providing the latest support and resources to this sector of the industry, competence-based assessments will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of workshops throughout the UK and provide a clear direction for companies’ training requirements. This will benefit operators, with in-house workshops and contract repairers seeking to illustrate compliance improvement to their customers."
FTA was awarded ‘IRTEC approved centre’ status by the sector skills council representative, IMI Awards, last year. As such, FTA will be focusing on the new Inspection Technician Licence within the IRTEC programme.
"As well as saving time and money, the real beauty of this scheme is that technicians are assessed in a ‘real world’ workshop environment and with vehicles that reflect modern fleets. Beyond these obvious practical advantages, technicians are also encouraged to understand and take responsibility for their impact on the Operator Compliance Risk Score.
"Vehicle engineering has moved on a great deal in the last 20 years; it is important that the skills and practical knowledge of technicians reflects this to keep fleets safe, efficient and compliant."
The 500th technician was Steve Jones from Ford & Slater Coventry.