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CCIF in Calgary discusses technician certification, Alberta labour shortages


November 20, 2007   by Canadian Underwriter


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The Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF)s initiative to create a national accreditation program is proceeding apace, according to an update of the CCIFs October 2007 meeting in Calgary.
Following on the heels of insurer-driven accreditation programs, the CCIF has established a working group to design a national accreditation program “by the industry, for the industry.”
Thus far, the working group has defined three key components of accreditation: facility, technicians and non-licensed staff.
The group has already established 25 criteria for the facility and has now turned its attention to whats needed for the certification of technicians, the CCIF reported at its Calgary meeting.
A survey had been designed to gather opinions from technicians on continuing education, the CCIF noted in a statement. They are being asked questions that include what is most important to them, which courses they have taken and what type of recognition they receive for completing training.
The results of the survey will provide guidance on creating accreditation standards for technicians that will provide them with personal recognition as well as contributing to their shop’s accreditation status.
In addition, the CCIF discussed adopting a People theme for its Calgary meeting, in recognition that a hot provincial economy has siphoned skilled workers away from the collision repair industry in western Canada.
“Just about everything is secondary to the people issues faced by our industry,” outgoing CCIF chairman Larry Jefferies said in a statement. “What we’ve seen in Alberta may be a taste of things to come for the rest of Canada, as the Baby Boomers retire and young people are drawn to higher pay and easier work in other industries.
An adequate supply of labour is not the only people issue, though. Managing and motivating staff, training, customer service and business management are all key areas in which collision repairers must focus more energy. Business survival will depend on excellence in these areas, not just on the ability to fix cars.”