With European grants and industry sponsorship totalling £160 000 Alan Finch has created a 10-bay mechanics training centre that will help equip the nations bicycle technicians with the skills they need in a world where a bike is now often made up of highly complex component parts.
Five or six regional centres could be set up within the next two years, although much of the learning can be done online so travel, and hands-on sessions at a participating centre, will be kept to a minimum.
A website for the CyTech-NVQ centre is in the design stages but will be password-protected and will contain course-specific downloads, online help areas and all the latest tech spec manuals for specific components.
CyTech will continue to be owned by ACTT Ltd, the training company operated by the ACT.
Existing CyTech technicians will be able to upgrade to the CyTech-NVQ. At present, those passing the new course will be presented with two certificates, a CyTech one and the NVQ one but this will later be supplanted by just one qualification, which will retain the CyTech name.
The initiative has been supported by 30 suppliers and brands, including Madison, Chicken, Kestrel, RSI, and USE. Cycleurope has supplied Peugeot bikes to be the patients.
NVQ qualifications are nationally recognised and, via local TECs, are government-funded. The Aylesbury Training Group is the South Easts leading engineering training facility, says Finch, and is in the top 20 of such facilities in the UK.
As well as technical training, Finch is later hoping to offer an NVQ in cycle retail sales. This could be taken almost wholly via an online correspondence course.
Full details of the merged CyTech-NVQ will be presented at the ACTs training day on 1st February at Cresta Court Hotel in Altrincham (for a map call 0161 927 7272) and the official roll-out is from a stand at David Hydes Cycle and Leisure Show at the NEC in March.
Tel: 01296 481818