Gold Class is currently the highest role-relevant training accreditation recognised by the collision repair industry in Australia I-CAR Australia Gold Class Coordinator Gary Wood explains how it can boost your business.
Keeping pace with modern vehicle construction, electronics, ADAS systems, radar, lidar, cameras and sensors are essential in order to safely repair cars. It's not just repair techniques but tooling and equipment that is also evolving fast to deal with the new systems and materials used on the latest model cars. Investing in new equipment is one thing, understanding how to maximise a return on that investment is another.
If you don't invest in training your staff to keep pace with change then your business' knowledge gap will continue to widen exponentially as rafts of new technologies enter the market.
This is being recognised by many insurers and vehicle manufacturers who have certified repairer networks.
Any which way
I-CAR’s delivery options include live classroom, hands on certifications and online courses.
In September, I-CAR will launch a fully online selection of short courses that can be accessed anywhere on a tablet or computer. The courses will be self paced and can be paused and resumed as required. New courses will include topics such as vehicle calibration, ADAS systems and diagnostics. The launch will also feature production management courses covering workflow, compliance and quality control. Once the decision to commit to the program has been taken, a personalised training plan is developed. The requirement for a collision repair business to achieve the Gold Class is for staff directly involved in vehicle repair to participate. This includes estimators, structural technicians, non-structural technicians and refinishers.
I-CAR offers points for the successful completion of courses. The Platinum Individual accreditation is awarded for achieving ten I-CAR training points. To achieve Gold Class you must have a Platinum representative from each of the four roles above. All other staff members in the training program must also achieve four points. I-CAR has training agreements in place with many leading paint and equipment suppliers as part of the Industry Training Alliance (ITA). Training completed with those partners can be recognised for the Platinum and Gold Class certifications.
As Gold Class is a commitment to ongoing training, it is a 12 month certification. To renew, all staff members must achieve a further two points within the certification period.
Investing in training provides staff with personal goals to achieve. Their involvement in business decisions will increase as they can be relied on to provide valuable advice in repair decisions. This can make them feel more valued and less likely to leave.
As training continues, efficiencies rise and risks reduce across the business as technicians have a greater understanding of their role. During the past 12 months, the number of businesses committing to the program has increased dramatically. There are currently 59 businesses on the Road To Gold, with this number now increasing on a weekly basis.
Why the sudden interest?
Insurers and OEMs are now recognising the benefits of having fully trained businesses within their certified networks. Holden requires its repairers must be I-CAR Gold Class or committed to achieving Gold Class within 12 months.
Audi, in conjunction with I-CAR, has a training program for its approved repair network. Each technician will receive Platinum certification for completing the Audi Steel Certified Body Technician Program. Audi intends this will work towards its repair network becoming I-CAR Gold Class accredited. Further OEMs are looking at Gold Class as being the foundation to build their brand specific technical training.
Major insurance companies are recognised as Gold Class insurers. The logical next step in that process is to expand that knowledge to their repair networks so that estimators and assessors are communicating with a similar knowledge and understanding of modern vehicles.