Keep your MOT CPD motoring

Car Mechanic

The annual training for MOT testers often gets left to the last minute. What do this year’s requirements include?

Continuing professional development (CPD) is one of those areas that tends to get neglected, but it’s incredibly important – not only to make sure your knowledge stays up to date, but also to make you a better tester.

This year’s CPD modules cover three specific areas:

  • Issuing MOT certificates, failure certificates and other documents;
  • The disciplinary points system; and
  • The vehicle categories that fall under the group of vehicles you test (eg, motorcycles or cars and light goods vehicles).

Here’s my advice to make sure your skills are up to scratch and to ensure you get the most from your CPD.


We tend to think we know all about documentation, but it’s surprising how many garages get it wrong. For instance, I regularly find MOT centres with out-of-date Contingency Testing documentation and the now-redundant CT32 advisory document.

The trouble is that when we hand over shabby bits of paper to the DVSA examiner and they are found to be out-of-date, then it’s obvious that something has gone wrong with the garage’s management practices.

Top tip: Don’t just do the CPD, take the time to check what documents you have on file.

Disciplinary points

A lack of knowledge here can cause real problems. Recently, I spoke to a tester who had received advice from a visiting DVSA examiner. The examiner had advised the tester about a particular shortcoming and had issued a VT59 advisory document. The tester told me that they weren’t bothered by this; if the issue had been serious, they’d have received points.

Unfortunately, that’s not true. The examiner had issued the VT59 and had the tester’s signature to prove it. That’s a ticking timebomb. If the DVSA revisits the site and finds the same shortcoming again, points could be issued. And they will ramp up.

Vehicle categories

If testing is carried out on a vehicle that the centre is not authorised to test, you can get into deep trouble very quickly. This normally falls into two types of shortcoming:

  • Where the tester knows, or should know, that the vehicle is not of the right class. The DVSA has noted previous instances of vehicles being issued with test certificates where they couldn’t possibly have fitted through the workshop doors. That’s a 500-point penalty, and the tester and authorised examiner could be for the high jump.
  • Where a vehicle might, at first glance, appear to be of a class that you can test. A typical example would be the threshold between Class 4 and Class 7. One  popular van has a model where most have a design gross weight of 3,000kg, but a few weigh in at 3,200kg. Usually, the DVSA will accept that this is a genuine error and only issue 50 points, (I say only 50 points, but dependent on your disciplinary history, that could well result in a formal warning.)
Top tip: If a customer asks you whether you can you test a certain category, refer to the notice board and take a look at your VT9A. This valuable source of information is often overlooked by garage staff but usually answers the question.

The Guide and the exam

Most of the information for this year’s CPD can be found in the MOT Testing Guide. Managers often think it’s for testers, and testers think it’s for managers. It’s a massive source of information, and familiarising yourself with it will improve the quality of your
testing and your knowledge of the MOT scheme.

The sooner you get on with the CPD training, the better. I suggest you do it with the IMI, and I recommend you take the training as well as the assessment. The pass mark this year is higher than in previous years, at 80%, so it’s easy to fail if you haven’t had the training. You’ll need to do it by 31st March 2021.

Want to get your training and assessment in order before the deadline, download the IMI MOT Assessment now.

Need to know what’s required, check out the Government’s MOT tester training and annual assessments information

This is an edited extract from IMI's new MotorPro magazine, received free as part of IMI membership. Time to find out more about becoming a member of the most influential community in UK automotive...?