Axalta 2020 Training Courses Resume

Axalta has announced that its training sessions will resume in most states, with new dates now available for registration. Sessions had previously been paused, with online training videos bridging the gap during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Axalta says it has two types of face-to-face training, with each course run by experts in the field. For refinishers, product training is offered to expand knowledge and skills, helping to improve capability, productivity and performance. With technology evolving and new products constantly being introduced, the company stresses the importance of this training.

For body shop owners, Axalta Services offers training courses focusing on Pre-Lean, Lean Foundations and Paint Optimisation. Axalta’s training alliance with I-CAR also means that participants who complete any of the Axalta Services courses will be awarded credit that can be applied towards the I-CAR Gold Class Professionals, Platinum Individual designations, or be used to meet role-relevant annual training requirements. Each credit point earned will be submitted to I-CAR and recorded on the personal training record.

“Our trainers and training centres are ready to go,” said Paul Polverino, Axalta Training Manager for Australia and New Zealand. “The past few months have been challenging for a lot of people and it will be great to give attendees a refresher and a boost as we head into a recovery state from COVID-19.  Technology is moving quickly and keeping abreast of the latest processes and products, like Axalta’s patented fast-cure, low-energy system, is crucial if you want to remain ahead of the game at this time.”

The company says that all sessions will be following government advice in relation to class sizes and strict social distancing protocols. Due to the current situation with COVID-19 in Victoria, training dates have not yet been announced there, but Axalta is continuing to monitor the situation and will announce training dates when possible.

I-CAR Awards Gold Class To Graham Bodyworks

I-CAR has announced that Graham Bodyworks in Greensborough, Victoria, has achieved I-CAR Gold Class status.

“I am very proud of our second Graham Bodyworks site achieving Gold Class accreditation, and the commitment of our staff in embracing training,” said Glenn Chesser, Managing Director of Graham Bodyworks. “The ongoing training will be invaluable to enable our team to stay up to date with the latest motor vehicle technology. We thank I-CAR Australia for their ongoing support and look forward to working with their team in the future to ensure we remain at the highest level in the collision repair sector.”

“This is a fantastic achievement by Graham Bodyworks,” said Gary Wood, Gold Class Coordinator at I-CAR Australia. “Having both their Eltham and Greensborough sites achieve I-CAR Gold Class in less than two years, is a demonstration of their commitment to developing their staff members knowledge and skills.

“Graham Bodyworks have blended their I-CAR training with training available from our ITA partners, Car-O-Liner and AkzoNobel. This has enabled them to complete a comprehensive training plan that has benefitted all individuals in the business within their specific roles. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

VACC: Auto Businesses In VIC Remain Open

Automotive businesses across Victoria remain open currently, performing services that are keeping motorists and business operators moving.

The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC), which represents many of the state’s automotive businesses, says its members support essential services and are therefore essential themselves.

“Emergency services such as ambulance, police and fire crews absolutely require vehicles in which to perform their duties,” said Geoff Gwilym, CEO of the VACC. “Along with this are trucks hauling groceries and medical supplies to supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals. This needs to keep occurring, and the automotive businesses that sell, maintain and service these vehicles need to remain open.

“If the automotive industry were to shut down, so too would many of the critical services that people rely on for health and safety, and the basics of life like food and medicine.”

The VACC says that it, along with many other organisations, also recognise that federal and state governments need to make tough decisions and are supporting their calls.

“VACC supports the recent decisions of government, but [Victorian] Premier [Daniel] Andrews has not yet stipulated what an essential service actually is,” said Gwilym. “Rather, he has outlined businesses and organisations that are currently classified non-essential. Automotive businesses such as workshops, body repair businesses and dealerships are performing essential services that organisations and the public rely upon. VACC asks that Premier Andrews acknowledge automotive as an essential service.”

Boutique Auto Body Awarded I-CAR Gold Class

I-CAR Australia has announced that Boutique Auto Body in Keilor East, Victoria, has received I-CAR Gold Class status.

“The team at Boutique Auto Body are extremely proud of reaching I-CAR Gold Class accreditation and wish to thank all of the I-CAR team and trainers for offering such a great programme,” said Ross Spataro, Director of Boutique Auto Body. “We also wish to thank Holden for making this part of the programme for becoming a Holden Certified Collision Repairer.

“This achievement adds to our outstanding customer service whilst giving all our clients confidence their vehicles will be repaired to the highest possible safety standards using the latest technologies, equipment and OEM repair and refinishing methods, ensuring their vehicles are repaired within factory tolerances using only genuine parts and often forgotten post collision corrosion protection.”

“Boutique Auto Body entered the Road to Gold programme as part of the Holden Certified Collision Repairer requirements,” said Gary Wood, I-CAR Australia Gold Class Coordinator. “From day one, their attitude and commitment towards the training has been exceptional. Ross and the team are building a fantastic business at Boutique Auto Body and fully deserve the recognition of being a Gold Class repair facility.”

Fix Auto Australia Adds Somerville & District Panels

Fix Auto Australia has partnered with a new Victorian panel shop, its second appointment in the region in the last month. Somerville & District Panels is the latest independent repairer to join the network which has been expanding rapidly recently.

Bill Kubeil, owner of Somerville & District Panels, said he knew for some time that things are changing for independent repairers, and felt that being part of a network would bring scale and sustainability for those that otherwise find it difficult to stay relevant. Kubeil said his issue was being sure that the group or network he joined would deliver real value, so he looked at several options and decided the Fix Auto model to be the best choice.

“Fix Auto is not just a buying group, they are not motivated or rewarded by what I do or do not buy from them, that is not their model,” said Kubeil. “They are focused on making my business better and more profitable and giving me a voice in the industry that I would not have here on my own. They give me systems, support, training and coaching that makes a real difference to my day-to-day business and of course they act on behalf of the whole network, providing those consolidated services to work providers. It really is the best of both worlds for an independent business.”

“There is a deliberate and recurring theme with the partners we select,” said Stuart Faid, Vice President for Asia, Head of Fix Auto Australia. “Bill yet again represents exactly what we are looking for in our network in terms of values, underpinned by integrity and a passion for delighting customers, delivering quality workmanship with a genuine locally focused service.”

Fix Auto Australia said it will have several more shops to be announced in the coming months.

Bosch To Conduct Victoria’s First On-Road Automated Vehicle Trials

The Victorian state government has announced that Bosch will begin the first on-road trial of automated vehicle technology approved under the Automated Driving System (ADS).

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said Bosch has been awarded $2.3 million from the Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) trial grants programme and issued with Victoria’s first ADS permit for on-road testing of highly automated driving systems.

Bosch will begin testing on high-speed country roads in 2019, exposing the technology to various conditions including traffic, infrastructure and weather. The trials will help Victoria understand the infrastructure required to allow these vehicles to operate on the state’s roads

Bosch Australia President, Gavin Smith, said the company is keen to demonstrate how this type of technology can reduce trauma on country roads.

The CAV programme provides funding to companies, industry bodies and other transport technology organisations that can develop appropriate technology. Other successful applicants for funding are expected to be announced shortly.

Allan said Victoria is leading the nation in the future of on-road technology and described the trial as an exciting step towards driverless vehicles hitting the road.

“The tragic fact is that you’re five times as likely to be killed on a rural road than in the city. That’s why we’re rolling out a record roads investment in rural Victoria – and this is another way we can improve safety and save lives,” said Allan.

Regulations to support the ADS permit scheme, which authorises the use of automated vehicles for testing and development on Australian roads, were completed in 2018.

VACC Names Victoria’s Best Body Repairers

Twenty-four Victorian body repair businesses have been named as finalists for the 2018 VACC Industry Awards. VACC Executive Director, Geoff Gwilym, said the awards demonstrated members’ commitment to quality.

“Short-listed from a record 276 entries, the cream has risen to the top in 2018, VACC’s centenary year. These finalists are the best in the Victorian automotive industry,” he said. “VACC was overwhelmed by the number of entries received from all over Victoria this year. Judging these entrants and narrowing down the field to the finalists was not an easy task.”

Ten expert judges evaluated entries based on customer service, professional and technical development, industry improvement, and environmental and occupational health and safety. To ensure that only the finest of VACC’s more than 5000 members would be announced as category winners, an independent standards representative audited the judging.

“VACC wishes all of the finalists the best of luck and recommends these businesses to Victorian motorists,” said Gwilym.

Category winners will be announced at a black tie gala evening, featuring master of ceremonies Mike Munro and a stellar line-up of entertainers, headed by Kate Ceberano, on Saturday 23 June at the Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.

Best Body Repairer – Passenger Vehicle (Small Business)

 Bayside Smash Repairs
 CAARS Smash Repairs
 Essendon Panels
 Showroom Finish Smash Repairs

Best Body Repairer – Passenger Vehicle (Large Business)

5 Star Panels
 Complete Body Craft
 CPK McLaren MotorBody
 Learmonth Road Smash Repairs
 LP Body Works
 Lyons Body Works
 Melville Body Works
 Morello Panels
 Northway Smash Repairs
 Paint & Custom Workshop
 Prossers Panel Beating
 Sheen Panel Service
 Sheen Panel Service Bayswater
 Sheen Panel Service Bulleen
 Sheen Panel Service Hoppers Crossing
 Specialised Collision Repair Centre
 Stylefinish Auto Body
 Super Tek Collision Repairs

Best Commercial Vehicle Body Repairer

 Complete Truck Bodies
 Royans Melbourne