What’s 2010 brought for ATG so far?
Over the past year we have made huge investments both in our team, premises and the workshop equipment. We recently updated the Cytech Technical Two training course from seven to ten days, which allowed us to add more content, but have more one-to-one contact with each mechanic.
We have also taken delivery of some Bicci Support bike fit equipment direct from Italy and are having lots of fun testing and putting some miles on a batch of electric bikes to see what repair shops might expect to be dealing with. These are just two areas we are exploring for development of new courses. The recent change of Government has heralded a higher focus on provision of apprenticeships, which can only be good news to the industry.
What qualifications and courses can you offer the beginner mechanic?
The Cytech One Practical qualification is designed as the logical progression from Cytech One Induction. The knowledge required at this level will give the individual an understanding of what it takes to build a bike to completion from the boxed state it often arrives in store. The course also covers important issues such as making sure that a new mechanic knows how to work safely in a workshop.
All this is no good without ensuring the mechanic can interact with customers so we cover things like booking work in effectively, offering good service and record keeping.
For the mechanic wishing to progress further, Cytech level two is the trade standard for a professional cycle mechanic. It includes training of up to ten days, including all the skills to service and maintain basic cycles and build wheels to a high standard through the DT Swiss factory wheel building course. For experienced mechanics there is a fast track assessment option available and also Cytech level 3.
Explain how retailers can fund putting their mechanics through courses:
I guess what sets us apart is our canny knack of being able to secure funding for mechanics, wherever it is available. The Government has recently announced its commitment to 50,000 additional apprenticeships, so this is really positive news. The money that we release from the Government will go a long way towards covering the cost of a course.
We ask for a contribution from the employer, which at £300 is pretty good value for ten days of training and the follow-up support. Where else can you secure this kind of training for £30 a day?
Has the ATG expanded at all?
We are continuing our investments in our workshops in Manchester and Aylesbury. We're just about to invest in doubling the tooling and workspace at each venue, giving us the ability to run different courses at the same time. We can then effectively reduce our waiting list and have the flexibility to add new courses as we develop them.
Any big announcements on the way?
As always, we are constantly looking to improve and develop the training we carry out. Courses are in development for electric bikes, hub gears and folding bikes. We're also looking at developing a cycle trade specific retail based course, which would cover sales skills, customer service, merchandising and marketing (an area which the ACT have carried out a lot of development work already).
TEL: 01296 737800