A petition which called for the introduction of a licence to practice as vehicle mechanic prompted much debate in the GW forum in recent weeks and while 78 per cent agreed with some form of government regulation others fear additional costs and policing problems.
Those in support of industry licencing argue it would see raise standards across the board, deter rogue mechanics and prevent dangerous workshop practices – particularly when it comes to working on electric vehicles.
Commenting on GW, Michael Ball wrote: “The licensing and registration of fully qualified motor vehicle technicians, making it an offence to work on motor vehicles if not so registered, should have been brought into effect many, many years ago.
“Now it is becoming a matter of urgency.
“Must we wait for people to die in the execution of their work because of their own ignorance?”
Michael and a number of other forum users went on to suggest that industry calls are going unheard.
He added: “Unfortunately, the sad fact of the matter is, that it is probably going to take to take the death of a mechanic/technician or two that doesn’t get suppressed by the government and becomes widely publicised, before any positive action is taken by the powers that be.
“The general motoring public have absolutely no idea at all of the technical complexity built into the vehicle that they expect to work faultlessly day after day, year after year, and be serviced by people they assume to have the correct skills and knowledge.”
Similarly, George described regulation as a “win-win” for both technicians and garage customers.
He said: “We all owe it to the motorist to provide a service by a qualified technician who will diagnose and repair each job correctly.
“If garages that cannot or will not meet the correct standards then they will have step aside.”
Franco Di Lustro, who opened his garage in 2014 and is a member of the Independent Garage Association and is AA Approved, said he fears for his industry if it continues to go unregulated by government.
He said: “I opened my business six years ago now and have done everything by the book.
“The AA take a very close look and even check for jack calibration certification.
“I pay a price for this and it has to be reflected in our labour charges.
“Joe blogs down the road or even a kerb-side mechanic can undercut all of us who invested large sums of money on training equipment.
“It’s a big like the corner shop use it or lose it.
“Unless some form of licensing comes in I fear for my industry and where it’s heading.”
Verifying what he believes needs to be the basis of regulation, George commented: “We should emphasise the fact that what we really mean is that technicians working on cars should have up to date training and qualifications so they are then capable of doing the job.
“Right now the master tech training and exam falls short in the complex modern vehicle.
“That is why we see some master technicians struggle.
“Up-to-date training and qualifications is what needs to be within this licensing.”
Not everyone agrees though.
John said: “Licensing has shown it achieves very little.
“Look at the government instigated ‘Part P’ legislation for electricians, things still go wrong.
“Some of the best mechanics I have known had no formal training or qualification.
“I have met PhDs who don’t know the safe end of a screwdriver.
“Where does that leave you?”
Not everyone agrees
A recent GW reader poll showed that 17 per cent do not support calls for industry licensing.
David said: “A license system will change nothing at all.
“The only option that might work is if government enforced a quality-checking procedure on each business from management, to service reception, to the technicians repairing the vehicles – using fines and penalty points with the real threat of losing your job.”
Some claim current optional regulatory schemes mean the better-quality garages can stand out above the rest and as such attract better customers who are willing to pay for quality parts and regular maintenance.
Philip Dunmore, who explained that he’s not “not sure” he’d welcome blanket licensing, said: “Our current business model means we get better quality customers, legislation could force poor quality customers our way.
“Fixing the MOT fee may help, maybe?”
The latest petition, which was created by Mohammad Shafiqul Haque and will close on February 16, 2019, has attracted around 800 signatures.
It follows multiple other petitions but none have yet achieved the 10,000 signatures required for an official government response.
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