Precision and progress: Navigating continuous training in collision repair 

Marcel Bernier, experienced auto care professional and I-CAR instructor, takes great pride in seeing his students flourish in their collision training. During his time in the sector, Marcel has witnessed the evolution of collision shops and new technologies emerge. This progression only further solidifies the need for continuous collision training, and Marcel Bernier plans to be an integral part of training auto care professionals to perform safe and quality repairs. 

How long have you been in the industry?  

I have been in the industry for 26 years! I was lucky enough to start my employment at a repair facility that was looking for different approaches to develop their own employees. This facility had a Red Seal Journeyman Technician that would look after apprentices at different levels. I eventually moved into that role and that was the start of my journey towards training. 

My current role is at Manitoba Public Insurance in the Research and Estimatics Department, which is a great opportunity to continue working with the Repair Trade and offering training. We work with everyone involved in the repair process, from the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), shop owners, repair technicians, to customers. 

What would you say is the importance of continuous collision training? 

More than ever, I see training as a requirement to stay current with the way vehicles are rapidly advancing. We also need to keep safety in mind for every repair—and continuous learning and focused training is a large factor of making the correct decisions on every repair. Collision repair has become more technical than ever, and we are seeing many specialized areas. When I started, you were either an autobody technician or a painter. Now, there are so many different paths and specialties required to repair today’s vehicles—just take a look at the courses offered at I-CAR Canada.  

I am someone who sees immense value in training. I have personally taken training to better myself as an instructor by getting certificates in Adult Education and Technical Vocational Teacher Education. I am also Platinum in all nine I-CAR roles. Training can help individuals and a business in many ways, and I always try to answer the question of “How is this going to benefit me?” 

Why should technicians and companies consider I-CAR training? 

I believe that an individual with relevant training is more efficient, and being more efficient is a benefit for everyone in the repair stream—including the technician, shop owner, insurance company, and the vehicle owner. Being able to find the correct information and interpreting that information in the manner that the OEM intended is of equal importance as completing the actual repair. 

What is the most important aspect of being an I-CAR instructor? 

A portion of my current role is assisting repair facilities with complex repairs. That could be discussing repair options with the vehicle manufacturer to attend the repair facility and assisting with repairs. I see the benefit of I-CAR training and discussions I have had with students all the time. This can be noticed in the quality of repairs, or seeing a technician stop a repair because they do not have all the required information or require some collaboration or assistance. 

I deliver hands-on training classes and it is very gratifying seeing the improvement in students throughout the day. I learn from the students and take pride when they fully understand and see the value in the classes they attend. Passing on knowledge was instilled in me from the first journeyman technician I worked under, and I still enjoy helping to advance the industry in any way I can. 

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.