I-Car announces training increases

I-CAR has announced large increases in the percentage of shops training and holding continuing education requirements.

In late 2016 it reported 9,325 shops out of roughly 33,500 in the industry were training with I-CAR, about 28%. But CEO John Van Alstyne has said that now 10,909 collision repair facilities — a third of the industry — trained with I-CAR last year.

It also estimated that 14,000 out of roughly 33,500 repairers — 42% — demanded continuing education in 2017, up from around 12,000 (35%) in 2016 and 12,000 of 2015’s 35,000 shops (34%).

However, it added that that meant that 58% of the industry lacks continuing.

Meanwhile, the number of Road to Gold shops fell from a projected 3,015 in 2016 to 1,326 in 2017, which John credited to the facilities graduating to Gold Class status. Welding certification participation skyrocketed, according to I-CAR, with more than 17,600 students took I-CAR welding classes.

I-CAR attributed the bump in I-CAR training stats in part to State Farm’s requirement that all Select Service facilities pass all three I-CAR welding certifications. But I-CAR executives also indicated Wednesday that shops outside of its auto insurer’s direct repair programme sought the credential as well in response to the carrier’s move.

About 69% of techs welding on steel lacked I-CAR certification in 2013, and 98% of the workforce hadn’t received I-CAR steel sectioning credentials. About 94% of aluminum welders weren’t certified by I-CAR that year. By 2017, 53% of steel welders, 81% of techs sectioning steel and 84% of aluminum welders weren’t credentialed.

John said, ‘So we are far from done. It is our obligation as a neutral, not-for-profit organisation to ensure every technician is provided with the knowledge and skills required to perform proper repairs. While we have accomplished a lot as an industry, especially in 2017, we still estimate that 58% of technicians are likely not training, and not to the level required. We need to do better, and we will do better.’