Motor technicians who work on air conditioning systems must join the IMIâ€™s Automotive Technician Accreditation scheme or risk losing out on future work.
That is the warning from Jon Winter, chief executive of S&B Automotive Academy in Bristol, which provides training for those who wish to work towards the ATA.
In a statement issued this week, he said: â€œMotorists, insurers and fleet managers all want to know that their vehicle is in expert hands and businesses want to employ those who have the required skills.
â€œThe ATA initiative identifies technicians who have not only proven their current competence but also signed a professional code of conduct.
â€œItâ€™s a bit like an MOT test for a technicianâ€™s skills, demonstrating they are up to the job and committed to remaining competent.â€
There are now only 7 months to go before new European legislation regarding the handling of refrigerant gases comes into force in July 2010.
The legislation requires anyone who handles these gases to be properly qualified and the air-conditioning route offered through the IMIâ€™s ATA scheme has been approved by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Accreditation includes practical assessments related to the evacuation, recharge and leak testing of a vehicleâ€™s air-con system and the handling of refrigerant gas cylinders, as well as an online knowledge test.
â€œIt will be surprising how quickly the July deadline comes round so technicians who work on air con or garages that provide air con repair need to get themselves enrolled on a course now,â€ said Winter.
â€œThose that act will then be well placed to provide the right service required by the industry.â€
Technicians considering ATA accreditation can take a self-assessment on the ATA website.