A national academy is being developed to provide management training for the bodyshop industry.

The initiative is the brainchild of vehicle repair and motor claims specialist Norton Consulting.

The academy is to offer courses in more than 50 different areas including NVQ qualifications, and there are plans to sign up 100 member companies in its first year.

Norton Consulting is seeking support from independent bodyshops, motor dealer groups and insurers who feel there is a need for recognised qualifications for managers in bodyshops.

Norton managing director, Eddie Longworth, said most bodyshop managers came from the shop-floor and learned the job as they went along but had little or no business experience.

He said: “The technical side of the industry is well served, a paint sprayer can achieve a nationally recognised qualification, but the equivalent is not available to the likes of bodyshop managers or those wanting to become bodyshop managers.”

Longworth added that he hoped the academy would become a recognised authority on non-technical training in the bodyshop industry.