I-CAR Gold Class recognition: The impact of continuous training with Gaudet’s Auto Body Shop 

CSN-Gaudet’s Auto Body LTD. of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, first received Gold Class recognition from I-CAR Canada in 1997. The I-CAR Gold Class certification is no small feat—it is achieved by having a Platinum-recognized technician in each of the four core required roles and by having each of these technicians complete six hours of I-CAR Canada training on an annual basis to maintain their Platinum recognition.  

Matt Koughan, from CSN-Gaudet’s Auto Body LTD, dives into the importance of being Gold Class certified, and how achieving this recognition can help better your business in today’s advancing collision sector.  

What motivated you to pursue Gold Class certification for your business?  

At the time, the strategic decision to align with the I-CAR Gold Class certification reflected a forward-thinking approach within the industry. This move was driven by an understanding of the evolving landscape within insurance companies and their increasing reliance on I-CAR Gold Class recognition. These insurance companies see this recognition as a benchmark for assessing the commitment to technician training. Essentially, we wanted to be proactive and exceed industry standards.  

What are the biggest challenges in today’s industry?  

Two of the biggest challenges in the industry these days are staffing and profitability, which, generally speaking, is where most collision repair shops fall behind those of our sisters and brothers in the mechanical sector of the auto care industry. Unfortunately, this has been an issue that has persisted well over the 40 years I have been in the industry.  

How has prioritizing and undergoing standardized training helped your business with those challenges?  

Being part of standardized training and being Gold Class-recognized has helped with a few aspects, for sure. For one, it helps us maintain the quality and consistency of workmanship within our shop. By having our repairs be consistent and of high quality, our cycle time is better, as well. We can take on more repairs throughout the day because we maintain a consistent, efficient, and smooth process, and training with I-CAR Canada has played a huge role in achieving that. Overall, achieving this recognition and undergoing continuous collision training has been incredibly helpful ensuring daily operations are steady and safe. smooth and efficient.  

What would you say is the most important aspect of continuous collision training?  

By fostering a culture of continuous learning and professional development, it helps our business stay in the lead with major technological changes in the industry. Embracing  

continuous collision training shows our commitment to ongoing learning and that our team remains current and ahead of industry trends. Because we participate in continuous collision training, our customers know that they can trust our work and that we provide safe and quality repairs.  

With this training, our employees participate in continuous collision training courses and refine their various skill sets—from refinish technicians, estimators, non-structural technicians, to steel structural technicians— keeps them up to date with the latest need-to-know information, such as new electric vehicle (EV) advancements, new advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technologies, or refinishing techniques and tools. This training keeps them engaged, empowered in their career.  

How has being Gold Class recognized benefitted your business and employees?  

As I-CAR Canada is one of the highest forms of training and certifications in the industry, being Gold Class recognized certainly helps ease the insurance claim process and keep customers happy and coming back. Customers want assurance that those repairing their vehicle will know the latest information, tools, and technologies. 

About I-CAR Canada 

I-CAR is an international organization dedicated to providing the information required to perform complete, safe, and quality auto repairs.   

I-CAR Canada is a training and recognition program run by the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada), a not-for-profit organization representing, supporting and leading innovation in Canada’s $37.8 billion auto care sector.   

Aimed at up-skilling tradespeople in the collision industry, I-CAR training has been available in Canada since 1979 and has been operated by AIA Canada since 2010.