Auto Service World
Feature   April 1, 2002   by CARS Magazine

Collision Industry Examining Human Resource Strategies

CARS' Initiatives to Provide Additional Opportunities

The ‘Prep for the Future’ study identified the key issues and challenges facing the Canadian Collision Repair Industry. The study characterized the Collision Repair Industry as “a complex mix of organizations, individual companies and employees working in virtually every area of the country. Like many other industry sectors, the collision repair industry is undergoing a period of dramatic and significant change; a change caused by technological advancements, shifting demographic, a changing marketplace and other key factors”.

CARS was pleased to provide CCIF’s Education and Training Committee with some insight into Canada’s Interprovincial Red Seal Program. Committee members were provided with copies of relevant documents from a range of sources. This has already been acknowledged by Neil Anderson, CCIF Committee Chair, to be invaluable information to CCIF as it seeks to continue its work to support the apprenticeship and certification system across Canada. According to Mr. Anderson, one of their next steps is to “develop a simplified explanation of the Interprovincial Red Seal including the benefits to the industry and its employees”.

CARS ensured that the collision repair industry’s perspective was included throughout the development of its Career Awareness materials by including a prominent CCIF delegate, Carlo DelFante, on the project advisory committee. Once completed, these materials will be distributed to industry and the education system to help create better awareness among Grade 8 and 9 students to the broad range of career opportunities in the motive power industry – including collision repair.

At its recent meeting in Saskatoon, CCIF’s Recruitment and Retention Committee expressed its desire to have CARS proceed with the development of mentor/coach and business management training. Where sufficient interest and numbers warrant, a college or private trainer could provide instruction; in areas where numbers can’t support face-to-face instruction, delivery could be via CARS’ Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) satellite broadcast system. This training will strengthen the on-the-job training and management skills of managers and shop owners so they will be better equipped to attract and retain employees.

Several other CARS initiatives currently under development will provide additional opportunities for CCIF to piggyback on industry’s efforts and to continue its work on behalf of the collision repair segment of a very dynamic motive power sector.

The ‘Prep for the Future’ study found that some 40% of shops had made no investment in training during the previous year. For those that participated in training, the emphasis was on the technical aspects of the trade. In most cases the training provided in soft skills and business management skills was far less than that for the hands-on technical areas. The study also found that the collision repair industry’s image, not unlike other segments of the motive power industry, was a complex issue that was heavily impacting on the industry’s ability to recruit and retain employees.

The findings of the study resulted in the development of nineteen recommendations in five key areas: Industry Image, Recruitment and Retention of Employees, Entry-Level Education and Trade Certification, Ongoing Training and Skills Development and Shop Accreditation.

To help address these issues and find ways to act on the recommendations, industry had come together to create the Canadian Collision Industry Forum. CCIF “provides a forum for the collision repair industry to share information, best practices and a means to develop solutions to common national issues and challenges.”

CARS welcomes this initiative and is prepared to provide assistance with activity areas that are in line with its mandate, “to address on a national basis, the human resource training and development needs of the Canadian automotive repair and service industry”.

For further information about CCIF, please visit or contact Mike Bryan,CCIF Administrator at (905) 726-9027, fax: (905) 726-9038 or

CARS was invited to participate in recent Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) meetings to explore strategies to address the recommendations of the collision industry’s human resource study, ‘Prep For The Future’.

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