SYNCHRONIZED WITH THE SEAL: I-CAR Canada and Saskatchewan Polytechnic team up on recognition of new apprenticeship curriculum

One of Canada’s biggest assets in repair technician training is the Auto Body and Collision Technician apprenticeship program with its Red Seal pan- Canadian harmonization. In 2011, I-CAR Canada recognized that a good part of the I-CAR program was being covered under the apprenticeship curriculum and exempted license holders from almost 150 hours of I-CAR courses.

Of course, nothing stands still in the collision repair world. Last year, I-CAR undertook a comprehensive revision of its course catalogue, making courses shorter and more specific. In the same period, the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) neared the end of a major revision of the Auto Body and Collision Technician Red Seal curriculum. A major effort was clearly needed to synchronize the two major skills development programs.

Luckily for all, staff from Saskatchewan Polytechnic volunteered to review every I-CAR Canada course including all requirements for individual Platinum and shop Gold Class recognition. The result is an increase from 69 courses to 80 I-CAR courses exempted for apprentices graduating this fall and forward.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic provides the in-school portion of Auto Body and Collision Technician apprenticeship training. Apprentices are registered with the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC), which oversees the province’s apprenticeship training and certification system. Saskatchewan Polytechnic is the SATCC’s primary training provider.

Scott Kucharyshen and Dale Hawkins, auto body program heads at Saskatchewan Polytech, confirmed the size and importance of the review task.

“This took our staff months of work, examining in detail every learning objective, every quiz and test,” said Kucharyshen.

“But in the end, it was very important to mesh the two systems without causing undue cost and time for the collision shops,” added Dale Hawkins.

Andrew Shepherd, I-CAR Canada’s executive director, lauded the review effort.

“These are seasoned collision repair technicians as well as instructors—we were lucky that Saskatchewan Polytechnic stepped up to put in that kind of time. We’re confident that I-CAR Canada and the new Red Seal curriculum are synchronized and working smoothly for the benefit of the industry.”

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