PALM SPRINGS — I-CAR is expanding their training options, while also reducing training hours to increase knowledge opportunities with more efficiency.
I-CAR President and CEO John Van Alstyne said 24 percent of the industry is now seriously engaged in I-CAR training, and the group’s goal is to continue making training as easily accessible as possible.
With a host of changes in place or set to roll out beginning in the 2019 second quarter, I-CAR has worked with the industry to ensure all changes are relevant, explainable, sustainable, affordable and solving expressed pain points and needs.
Participation in I-CAR training is growing, with online and in-shop training options both seeing significant growth. The number of welding students taking certification courses has nearly doubled from 2016, going from 12,944 students to 23,500 in 2018. They have also gone from hosting roughly 6,000 events to 14,000 events, which has driven a lot of in-shop activity.
Beginning in April 2019, I-CAR is going from 71 courses to 128. But then also transitioning from 236 total hours to 139.25. Of those, roughly 100 are available online, 10 are virtual courses, 10 hands-on skills and 10 classroom courses. Almost all are also available in Spanish.
Fourteen Electrical and Diagnostics courses are now available, in reaction to what the market is dealing with in terms of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.
Eight new vehicles and technology courses launched in 2018, bringing the total portfolio to about 67 courses that are available today that could be vehicle specific.
“It is all about complete, safe and quality repairs. Course counts are going up and training hours are going down because we have reduced redundancy. We are more aware of the shop’s time,” said Van Alstyne.
Despite positive growth trends, many still aren’t being properly trained to repair today’s vehicles. But I-CAR continues to make progress. The percentage of technicians welding without training has gone down across all three segments:
- Steel is down from 69 percent in 2013 to 46 percent in 2018
- Sectioning welding is down from 98 percent in 2013 to 73 percent in 2018
- Aluminum welding is down from 94 percent in 2013 to 74 percent in 2018
“The I-CAR vision is that every person in the collision repair industry has the information, repair knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer,” Van Alstyne said.
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Although the Road To Gold program is being phased out, I-CAR has continued to expand curriculum, going from just Core Repair Foundation and Welding Certifications in 2010 to now include Industry Basics, Hands-on Skills Development Courses, Vehicle/Technology Specific, In-Shop Knowledge Assessments, Education Curriculum and Contract Training.
“This is all in reaction to the technical tsunami and what we need to do, which is to fix cars right,” Van Alstyne said.
Not only are more courses available, but there are more places in which to take them. I-CAR has 454 official training sites across the US; more than half are schools and some are suppliers with training centers.
“We want to improve that learning environment and get training,” Van Alstyne said. “We have a pretty good geographic spread right now.”
A schedule of all training available in the industry is also hosted on the I-CAR site. “We are trying to make this an open code. We think I-CAR has good training, but we aren’t the only organization that offers training, and we just want technicians trained. We want that transparency,” Van Alstyne said.