Toronto, Ontario -- August 12, 2019 -- When news broke two weeks ago that I-CAR was creating a system that would cut Gold-Class certification time in half, repairers across America rejoiced for their saved money, and saved time that would've been lost during the previous certification process.
However, Canada isn't offered the same time-splitting in-person assessment program. According to Andrew Shepherd, Senior Director, Industry Programs and Executive Director, of I-CAR Canada, the two countries industries differ so much in the apprenticeship stage that Canadian's don't really need it.
Collision Repair sat down with Shepherd to discuss these differences and whether or not there would be risks with the time-condensed assessment program.
Collision Repair: I-CAR has decided to not extend their newest program to Canadian repairers, why?
Andrew Shepherd: The US has a more ad hoc preparatory education system for collision repairers. There are independent technical schools and their curriculum is made up on the spot sometimes with local industry contributions - but there's no coordination of curriculum among those schools. This is in such a clear contrast to the Canadian school system which has the Red Seal Programs in both autobody and refinishing across the country. What I-CAR Canada has done is - looking at the agreed curriculum of these systems - is match them with I-CAR course equivalencies. So the Americans are going into each shop to talk to people and do a skills assessment to give them equivalencies with I-CAR courses.
CR: We know that the newest system will significantly condense training time, do you see any risks posed to American repairers?
AS: In any system like that there can be small variations in individual assessments. An assessor will give credits where another one might not. I-CAR is trying to make it as robust as they can but all of the assessments in the US are geared to the foundation level of the I-CAR program. It's the same thing that's gone on with the Red Seal equivalency in Canada - most of the equivalencies tend to be in the basics because that's what an apprenticeship is. So even if you are a bit spotty on your assessment consistency, there's still the other two-thirds of the program to bring people up to a consistent level. I wouldn't say it's a huge threat as the critical components like welding certifications aren't a part of that assessment.
For more information on I-CAR's training protocols and cetficiations, visit i-car.com