• Learning Culture

    - by Mark Czvitkovits, I-CAR

    The future pathway for the collision industry will involve training at every level. Over the past months I have written the articles based on the return on investment you will receive through staff training. Sometimes this can be hard to grasp as the returns are not always seen immediately. What you do see in the short term however will be technicians discussing the repair based on what they have learnt during training. This leads to a culture of learning and promotes discussion at all levels of the workplace and this is where the real gains are made.

    The repair technician will discuss with the estimator, other repair and refinish technicians and the apprentices over what they understand, and as a group the knowledge will be shared at every level. In this way the expectation and understanding across the entire repair team will be united, therefore delivering a more consistent outcome for a business.

    One of the most critical people in this shift to a learning culture will be the business owner or manager as it is ultimately their decision to invest in training. So, the decision will need to be made as to how the workshop can schedule training into its workflow over a period of time to improve the skills in every area.

    Training should be planned with an end goal in sight. If for instance the goal is to achieve I-CAR Gold Class, then the first objective will be to set a target date for completion. Too many businesses attempt to achieve this in a too short time frame and this can lead to technician learning overload. By this I mean that as a training manager, each technician must be given the time to learn, absorb and put into practice what they have been shown.

    Our technicians are not classroom people and the last time they potentially sat in a classroom or learning environment was during their apprenticeships. Being mindful of this will provide the technician with a better learning pathway and enable them to discuss among the team what they have discovered and the feedback from all people in the conversation will ultimately benefit everyone in the business.

    Achieving I-CAR Gold Class or an OEM accreditation is not easy, nor will it be cheap but it is certainly beneficial to a business. The brand-new invertor spot welder, riveting gun, electronic measuring system or alignment rack are also not cheap but they are required. Most of these pieces of equipment lay idle during the course of a work week.

    A training program for technicians will be cheaper than all of those shiny new things, the difference however is that a technician does not lay idle during the week. Technicians are the single most valuable asset in a business today and the right investment in them will bring many positives to a business. Longevity being one of them, technicians don’t leave a business because it is a great place to work or that they are involved in a professional development program. They leave in the most instances because they feel they are not valued.

    At I-CAR we have multiple information packs regarding Gold Class, ROI, Professional Development Programs and Learning Culture. If you would like to have more information contact us at goldclass@i-car.com.au for more information.

    I-CAR provides a unique collision repair focus unequalled anywhere in the world and you can check what is available at www.i-car.com.au and remember all of your training can be paid through your Capricorn account.

    The future will always be bright, so long as you know what is required.