VAN leasing giant Northgate has become the first daily rental company to license its mechanics under a scheme which is backed by road safety groups.
Northgate’s 300 mechanics are joining the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTEC), which involves a strict theoretical and practical assessment – 60 are already licensed. The licence is valid for five years and has been developed to raise standards of excellence in the transport industry by ensuring mechanics working on vehicles are competent and safe.
Road safety charity Brake is even calling for the industry to make licensing for mechanics compulsory across the industry. Mary Williams, chief executive of road safety charity Brake, said: ‘Brake fully supports Northgate’s commitment to employing professionally qualified mechanics. There are unacceptable numbers of dangerous vehicles on our roads, vehicles that may kill or seriously injure their drivers and other road users due to lack of adequate and proper maintenance.
‘Brake is calling for urgent introduction of compulsory licensing for vehicle mechanics, to prevent the needless deaths and injuries caused each year by faulty brakes, steering, gears, wheel fixings and other safety critical parts.’
The licensing scheme ensures that mechanics keep up to date with the latest technology and safety standards. Ken Emmerson, technical director at Northgate, said: ‘We service and maintain all of our vehicles through our own in-house workshops. All of our mechanics receive in- depth training including training from the leading vehicle manufacturers.
‘We have 60 mechanics that now have their IRTEC licences. We are not only ensuring customers’ vehicles are maintained to the highest standards but also that we are helping to raise standards in the motor transport industry.’