Wednesday Wisdom: Andrew Shepherd

 Toronto, Ontario — August 13, 2019 — I-CAR recently announced that they would be creating a system that would cut Gold-Class certification time in half  – but only for American repairers.

While some Canadians may be confused as to why they’re left out of the ‘exciting’ and ‘innovating’ In-Shop Knowledge Assesment program, Collision Repair spoke with Andrew Shepherd, Senior Director, Industry Programs and Executive Director, of I-CAR Canada about the differences between American and Canadian automotive industries that leaves Canada not really in the need for the program at all. 

Collision Repair: So why has the original Gold-Class certification not worked out for American shops?

Andrew Shepherd:  In the US, they will recruit a lot of people from technical schools without any foundational I-CAR education. However, what they’ve naturally discovered is that through I-CAR courses that they have to take on, a lot of the technicians have that experience through introductory work at a collision repair facility or what they’ve done in school, but there’s been no way to quantify that in the US. Every region is different, every technician is different, so it makes sense to have a system that saves time and money on a course if they have that competency that was delivered to them in the apprenticeship program. 

Collision Repair: Do you think that I-CAR’s newest assessment program will ever make it’s way to Canada?

AS: I have written for the past ten years that the delivery of I-CAR in Canada has to recognize Canadian realities. We have to do it in both languages, we have public insurance provinces, etc. But one of those certainly is to acknowledge the existence that we have one of the best apprenticeship programs in the world. Not only is the quality of instruction incredibly high, but it’s very consistent from province to province so we have to build that into our delivery in Canada, and that’s neither better nor worse than the US. It’s just recognizing a different foundation in the education system. I do think we’ve lead the way in many I-CAR innovations but this is just recognizing reality.

Collision Repair: Do you know how American facilities have responded to the program?

AS: They’re apparently having quite a bit of success in it. They do pay money for the assessment but then it exempts them from courses so I think, given the variations in the educational presentation there, this kind of system is necessary to them and really does help. 

For more information on I-CAR’s newest program, or to read more about Shepherd’s take on the transition, read our previous article here, or visit i-car.com

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