Audatex is offering a free spot every month on its AudaEntepriseGold (AEG) certification course to bodyshop apprentices.
The move was developed with the National Body Repair Association (NBRA), and apprentice charity AutoRaise to address the skills shortage facing the industry.
The two-day training course, which generally costs around £600, will provide apprentices with training in vehicle damage assessment.
Selected apprentices can attend the AEG course physically at a convenient UK location or online.
Neil Garrett, UK sales director for Solera Audatex, says: “We hope this offer of free training for selected apprentices will not only make the candidate better qualified and more committed to the sector but also help bodyshops send trainees on industry courses in the absence of funding.
“These apprentices will get an invaluable insight into a career in intelligent technologies as they return to their employers with valuable skills.”
The automotive technician skills shortage became increasingly critical during 2020 and 2021, with 67% bodyshops listing recruitment as their top priority, according to recent research by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). Additionally, 40% of workshops and garages say they are too under-resourced to afford to send staff on training courses.
AutoRaise said: “We welcome Audatex’s offer of free training in its estimation software. It is an innovative addition to our work to make industry apprenticeships more attractive, offering something of value to both the candidate and their employer, and enriching the apprenticeship itself.”
Chris Weeks, executive director, NBRA said: “The next generation of automotive technicians has grown up in the age of smart technology.
“Audatex’s training will reveal the growing complexity and technology behind the everyday vehicles we take for granted and hopefully, this will fire their imaginations.”