Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2003   by CARS Magazine

CARS Paves Way for New Skills Training for Collision Repair

The Canadian Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) Council is appealing to industry for support with its newest, and potentially one of the most challenging, projects.CARS is responding to recent indus...

The Canadian Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) Council is appealing to industry for support with its newest, and potentially one of the most challenging, projects.

CARS is responding to recent industry research which has underscored what many have known for years – the Canadian collision repair industry is suffering from a critical shortage of training specific to its needs!

Building on the important research conducted in the 1999 “Bridging the Gaps” study and the 2000 “Prep for the Future” study, CARS proposes to undertake a comprehensive, industry-wide needs assessment to determine the technical and non-technical training and education requirements – including business management skills – of the Canadian collision repair industry. As part of its research, CARS also plans to assess the opportunities for utilizing new and emerging interactive distance learning technologies (IDL) such as computer-based training and satellite broadcast to overcome the issues of time off work and distance to training opportunities.

The CARS Collision Repair Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) project will provide detailed information on the training and education needs of the Canadian collision industry and, in particular, those needs as they relate to human resource management and business skills for shop owners in addition to technical training requirements for the industry generally.

CARS plans to use a broad, industry-wide approach to its research including a widely distributed stakeholder survey to all segments of the collision repair industry including individual technicians, shop owners and industry organizations and associations. CARS will use mail, telephone and Internet surveys, focus groups, industry association meetings and personal interviews with key industry informants to assess training need requirements across the country. The web-sites of industry association will also host the national survey questionnaire in addition to the CARS web-site – CARS encourages individuals and organizations alike to download and return the completed questionnaires to CARS by fax (905) 709-1013.

CARS is interested in how and what training is currently provided and what the needs are for specific collision repair, technical and non-technical training and education. CARS will also investigate the collision repair marketplace, potential learners, product content requirements and the technology available for delivering and managing training.

CARS is confident that this new, industry-wide research will provide the foundation for new training to be developed by CARS to meet the industry’s requirements for a skilled collision repair workforce capable of rising to the challenges of change, to provide opportunities for career progression and to improve the human resource and business management skills of an industry in which over 80% of owners and managers have arrived at their positions based on technical skills developed on the shop floor.

The CARS research will be completed by March 31, 2004, after which, work will begin on the creation of new training solutions for Canada’s automotive collision repair industry. For more information on the CARS Collision Repair Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) project, or to learn how you can participate, please contact Linda Brown at CARS, (905) 709-1010.

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