Whanganui's Larsen Collision Repairs is one of only four panelbeating businesses in New Zealand to achieve the I-CAR gold-class standard.

Last week Larsen's owners, Aaron and Melissa Hogg, were presented with their gold-class plaque by the Collision Repair Association.

To earn the gold-class recognition, businesses must achieve and maintain a high level of training across each of the major collision repair roles. It requires three staff members - an administrator, a repairer and a painter - to achieve the platinum standard, with each staff member attending six to eight courses held around New Zealand. Once all three have reached the platinum level, the business is eligible for the gold-class plaque.

"We had to do all the courses, which is expensive and takes years to get through, but we have made it a focus and a priority," Mrs Hogg said.


"We want to stay one step ahead. Achieving the gold class isn't the end of it though. To maintain the gold class we have to keep doing courses to stay up to date."

The gold-class industry standard means technicians have improved ability to perform "complete, safe and quality" repairs and the business keeps up with changing technology and new vehicle models. I-CAR also provides the business with marketing tools.

Upskilling their whole team is a focus for the Hoggs.

"Training has been a real big priority for us and we have got two of our older staff through their apprenticeships this year," Mrs Hogg said.

"One of them has been in the trade for 15-plus years but hadn't finished his apprenticeship."

Larsen Collision Repairs has grown from five staff to its current team of 12. The Hoggs have owned the business for nine years but October will mark 40 years since previous owner Lynn Larsen started the company.

I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, is an international not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs.