“Why are companies such as I-CAR and ASE and others not offering more hands-on training beyond a couple classes a year? If you’re a company like ours in rural USA (Vermont), it’s almost impossible to get any sort of hands-on training for your employees. I’ve searched high and low to find training where my techs will actually be putting their hands on cars and learning firsthand what the new techniques are. Let’s face it, most of our techs are not classroom people; they learn best from getting their hands dirty. Unfortunately, an online video class or a classroom class does not help my techs.” – Kevin D’Anna, manager, Clark’s Collision Center, Barre, Vermont
First, just to be clear, I-CAR trains and ASE certifies collision repair industry professionals; ASE does not offer any training. The training that I-CAR offers helps prepare professionals for ASE tests, and we work closely together.
With regard to the hands-on training, I-CAR has been expanding and will continue to expand our hands-on offerings. You’ll soon be seeing a monumental shift from the traditional four-hour classroom courses to a more blended learning environment consisting of online training for theory-based topics, followed by hands-on training and coaching in a shop environment. I-CAR has been adding fixed locations around the country to accommodate a better learning environment for students, especially technicians who – as you point out – like getting their hands dirty.
For many years, I-CAR has offered hands-on steel, aluminum and sectioning training and testing. For these hands-on programs, I-CAR travels to your shop – even in rural Vermont – and works with your technicians and your equipment to help technicians with machine setup, weld preparation and personal coaching for making weld joints.
I-CAR has recently added a number of hands-on, in-shop skills development offerings, including:
- Squeeze-type resistance spot welding (STRSW)
- Plastic repair
- MIG brazing
- Rivet and rivet bonding
These courses are all delivered in a shop environment for an optimal learning experience.
In addition to the courses already available, I-CAR is working on a number of other programs for future release, including courses on:
- Anchoring and pulling strategies (for a preview of this class, check out: http://bit.ly/2t14KNI)
- Composite repair
- Aluminum sectioning
- Sanding, buffing and polishing
- Steel and aluminum sheet metal repair If there are additional courses you would like us to consider, we would love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].
I-CAR has also partnered with several vehicle makers over the years to offer hands-on, multi-day training at our tech center in Appleton, Wis. These programs are typically three to five days in length and are extremely well-received by the technicians who attend. However, these can get quite costly when you factor in tuition, travel, meals and lost productivity. These programs also typically require sponsorship from a local dealership, if the OEM deems that the demand in a given market warrants adding a facility to their network.
Tool & Equipment Manufacturers
There are also hands-on training opportunities through many tool and equipment makers. Many of these companies have worked with I-CAR through the I-CAR Industry Training Alliance (www.i-car.com/Home/Educational-Programs/Industry-Training-Alliance) to provide student credit recognition for students completing these programs. The way the program works is that students complete training from an approved training provider, the training provider shares the student information with I-CAR, the students send in an application and payment, and I-CAR recognizes the training toward accomplishment of I-CAR Gold Class and Platinum Individual designations. If the training provider is an I-CAR Sustaining Partner, such as Chief and Car-O-Liner, the training recognition is automatic and doesn’t require application or payment from the student or the repair facility. It’s a great program, and we anticipate many more tool and equipment makers joining the Sustaining Partner program throughout 2018 and into 2019.