Ahead of the Modern Claims Awards on 27th April 2023, Modern Insurance Magazine sat down with Maria Charlton – Director at Automotive Glazing Academy – to share some advice for the Award winners as well as discussing advancements in technology and some tips for nurturing Next Gen talent.
Q. Hi Maria, it’s great to have you on board as a judge for the 2023 Modern Claims Awards!
Why don’t we start by talking about Automotive Glazing Academy, the work you do and the way in which you support the industry?
A. I started AGA as a “hobby” back in 2008. At the time, I was teaching and lecturing in sports and fitness and a mummy of 2 little people, but thought I wasn’t busy enough and fancied another challenge! Little did I know that it would be my main vocation 15 years later, but I absolutely love it!
I have an amazing and passionate team at AGA, which has been built on knowledge, expertise, and a thirst to learn and deliver more. All of my trainers are experts in their field with decades of experience between them, delivering vehicular glazing, glass repair and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) training and assessments across the country. They are still required to maintain their skills and continuous professional development in my sister company National Autoglaze Services, delivering the best training in the field of Automotive Glazing replacement and repair!
The AGA model is unique. We deliver all of our training onsite and ensure that it is bespoke to the customer. We work to specific requirements and don’t believe that one model fits all; we are traditional in our approach and believe our customers lie at the core of our company. Most of our relationships go back to the beginning where we now nurture a ‘self-fulling prophecy’ and continue to support our customers with ongoing changes and challenges in the industry.
The introduction of PAS 125 (now BS10125) was why I started AGA. We were the first of its kind in the four nations across the UK, supporting the AGR (Automotive Glazing Replacement) market in their certifications to remain compliant with industry legislation, and the consistent changes around glass and the technology therein. However, I am very active in many working groups within the automotive sector and have introduced automotive glazing to many new customers through educating them in the value of training teams in glass replacement and repair within their businesses.
The future is clear with AGA, where we will continue to support the automotive industry in the safe application of glass replacement and ADAS.
Q. With so much going on in the way of technological advancements in the sector, what actions are Automotive Glazing Academy taking to stay relevant and up to date with their training provision?
A. As I also own an automotive glazing company, my team are reminded daily of the ongoing challenges with technology advancements in the glazing sector. We are able to discuss and find solutions together, sharing that with our customers when delivering training.
I engage with many industry suppliers who have since become our partners. They offer a variety of solutions where we are able to pass these onto our customers in the way of training and introductions.
I am about to launch a new product into the UK that allows technicians to carry out ‘mobile’ calibrations on vehicles ‘safely’, whilst adhering to instructions set by the OEM. I am always looking for new solutions to futureproof the industry, ensuring that it can remain responsive to continued technological advancements and demands of the AGR market.
Q. How does nurturing Next Gen talent fit into the long-term goals of the Academy?
A. AGA fully supports the next generation of technicians. As part of the BRIT group (Bodyshop Repair Industry Trailblazers), Autoraise and School of Thought, I am passionate in ensuring my customers have the pathways to aid them with recruitment, access to funding and delivery.
Q. What steps are you taking to guarantee a diverse and inclusive future for the sector?
A. We are doing our bit for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by providing opportunities for professional development, mentorship, training and growth opportunities for the team, and educating them to support marginalised communities. We are also creating a safe space where everyone can feel comfortable participating in conversations about their identity.
Q. Which aspect of the Awards night are you most looking forward to?
A. I can’t wait to celebrate with the winners and runners up, whilst engaging in conversations around the current challenges of the industry in the hope of finding collaborative solutions.
Q. If you could offer one piece of advice to the award winners, what would that be and why?
A. I would say that you must continue to work on what you find interesting and inspiring. Working on the things you love creates happiness and success for all involved. Be led by passion and the bigger picture whilst continuing to create success for you and those around you. Be a leader with value and morals, and success will be sure to follow.
“Do what you love and never work a day in your life!”
The Automotive Glazing Academy (AGA) is the only national provider delivering bespoke training to our customers, delivering everything from national qualifications in Automotive Glazing and ADAS to technician accreditation assessments to ensure compliance with British Standard BS10125 for ADAS and vehicle glazing.
At the forefront of automotive glazing and ADAS training, AGA is a unique national learning provider with unrivalled expertise and experience in this fast-changing sector.
AGA supports the training and accreditation needs for a range of SME mobile automotive glazing repair and replacement businesses, as well as bodyshops, insurers and national franchise operations. This includes bespoke refresher training courses, preparation for IMI Accreditation assessments and update advice on tooling and procedures
An unstinting determination by AGA to deliver the best automotive glazing and ADAS training in the UK has propelled our business forward since launching in 2008. Our brand reflects the rapidly advancing technology in automotive glazing and ADAS.
In dealing with AGA, customers are assured of a reliable, competitive, and professional service. In such a highly technical, fast moving industry, our attention to detail, sharp focus on automotive glazing training and ADAS training excellence and prompt efficiency sets us apart.
When it comes to any aspect of automotive glazing and ADAS training, we’ve got it covered.