By James Kerr
Toronto, Ontario -- January 23, 2018 -- In the collision repair industry, not all schools are on a level playing field.
"Some schools are doing well, others are struggling with the same budget they've had for 30 years," says Patrice Marcil, North American Customer Experience Director at Axalta Coating Systems and Chairman of CCIF. "We need to level the playing field."
Marcil presented at the Wednesday night opening of CCIF 2018, the Canadian Autobody College Visit at Centennial College, to talk about CCIF's role in educating students about the collision repair industry, and the Collision Industry-Education Connection Program.
Charting a course through several CCIF meetings going back to Montreal in 2016, the Collision Industry-Education Connection Program (CI-EC) has taken a multi-stage approach to look at how to contribute to the students in the industry. Between idea-generating meetings, panel discussions, a series of surveys and even a scholarship program, the CI-EC is taking the long term view on bringing new faces into our world.
"When we look at the industry in Canada and the size of the shops, are we just bodymen and painters, or are we more? What are the roles that are available?" said Marcil.
The CI-EC program seeks to increase recruitment and development of the collision repair workforce by sharing information, like the recent spring survey of industry students that had more than 230 responses. This research convinced the committee that not all autobody programs offer the same level of education, and all too often it was coming down to the cost of equipment and materials.
"One of the issues we're facing in the issues is that the investment students have to make in tools deters them quite a bit," said Paulo Santos, Centennial College Autobody Professor and Program Co-ordinator and Industry-Education Committee Member, during a tour of Centennial College's collision repair program facilities. "Our autobody program is one of the most expensive programs to run at the school. Why? It's all consumables. Vehicle manufacturers are always introducing new materials, new technology, and we have to struggle to keep up with that."
The CI-EC now offers a year-round sponsorship component, offering financial and in-kind assistance to schools to help them update equipment.
At this year's Toronto CCIF running January 25 and 26, 2018, the CI-EC will be hosting a 3-D scanning training session, and will host CCIF's first "Career Day" event, to encourage students to come out to CCIF and start looking at all the options collision repair has to offer.
"CCIF attracts the big sections of the industry," said Marcil. "We want to give them [the students] every opportunity."
For more information, visit ccif.ca/collision-industry-education-sponsorship-program/ or come visit CCIF Toronto.