CyTech, the mechanics accreditation scheme from the Association of Cycle Traders, is getting a rival in the shape of CoBRs Federation of Cycle Mechanics.
Of course, ever the diplomat, CoBRs Laurie Sedman wont admit in public that the new Federation is gunning for CyTech:
The fact of the matter is theres an NVQ and theres a CyTech. CyTech is an industry standard, an industry test, whatever you want to call it, whereas the NVQ Cycle Maintenance is a nationally-recognised accreditation. If you stopped ten people in the street, eight of them would be able to tell you what an NVQ was.
The Federation of Cycle Mechanics is to bring to the attention of the consumer the professional cycle mechanic and to produce support so that independents have something within their armoury the multiples dont ie a professional cycle mechanic. I dont necessarily believe CyTech will do that so Im not gunning for CyTech at all, Im not gunning for the ACT. The ACT has had many years opportunity to do what were proposing and really promote whats different about independent cycle shops.
Were trying to raise the perception in the eyes of cycling consumer you ought to be going to an independent bicycle dealer first and foremost which has always been our message and heres one of the key reasons why you should be doing it: theyve got these guys who are professionally trained to a nationally recognised standard."
Sedman isn't shy in coming forward: There are many people switching from CyTech to the NVQ already and thats because they recognise the NVQ goes that little bit further."
The ACT disputes there is widespead switching going on.
Not to be deterred, Sedman believes the NVQ has legs:
There are important legal responsibilities where the modern cycle workshop is concerned. We were approached by Trading Standards recently to do a survey of cycle retailers. The independents came out very well in the main but Trading Standards wanted to know what standards there were in the industry to measure retailers with. My response was you have them. They said we havent got them. It relied upon things like manufacturers standards such as torque settings. Courts will ask to what standards did you service this bike? There arent any. We need Thresholds of Competence.
Its going to help the whole of the industry, its not just a CoBR thing.
The key figure behind the new Federation is Alan Finch of Aylesbury College he of NVQ Cycle Maintenance fame. He has joined the CoBR Board of Directors as Director of Training.
After meeting Alan 12 months ago it was always just a question of when he joined us, rather than if, said Sedman.
His views, standards and wishes for the industry and cycle mechanics in particular are identical to the Directors of CoBR and to those expressed by growing numbers of our members.
Finch is currently working in association with EMTA, the awarding body and owners of the NVQ, to develop Level 3 NVQ from the CoBR Advanced skills course. He joined CoBRs board in December but a formal announcement was only made today.
During the past two months we have been working specifically on the formation of the Federation of Cycle Mechanics, said Sedman. The official launch will be at the Cycle and Leisure show at the NEC in March.
According to Sedman, the Federation will be a body that will help formulate and then provide information and assistance to bring about the highest possible Thresholds of Competence relative to the modern cycle workshop and the professional cycle mechanic.
In association with CoBR and other interested parties these elements will
then be promoted directly to the cycle consumer and therefore raise the
perception and awareness of the professional cycle mechanic.
Sedman has mapped out three main areas of responsibility for the Federation of Cycle Mechanics.
1. The legal responsibilities and liabilities of the modern cycle retailer
and mechanic. This will include advice and information about such subjects
as Health and Safety, COSHH, BS6102 with the emphasis upon providing current and constantly updated information in the various areas. Advice and guidance will be provided in the form of information available from an internet resource, in paper form for those without access to the internet and training courses covering the subjects in question.
2. Establishing standard terminology and content of such areas as PDI and
servicing. The objective being that a customer having an "interim service"
in London who subsequently moves to Manchester is ensured of the same content and Thresholds of Competence in both shops. Developing from this will be standard charges for the various servicing and repair elements.
3. The provision of constantly updated technical advice and maintenance
information from manufacturers. This will ensure optimum performance from
their products. This service will be provided entirely as an internet
The internet resource is the newly registered domain
http://www.cyclemechanics.co.uk. Initially it will be a sub-site of the mainCoBR website with cyclemechanics.co.uk being used as a domain pointer. As more and more information is added it will be established as a separate site and will include all information and assistance regarding the training and accreditation services provided by Aylesbury College on behalf of CoBR,
including the NVQ levels 2 and 3.
Mechanics from shops which are not CoBR members can still join the Federation of Cycle Mechanics.
Membership will be offered to both cycle mechanics and retailers and we are developing various schemes that will provide joint membership of CoBR and the Federation, said Sedman.
Cost savings from mechanics training and NVQ accreditation services, credit card schemes, finance, shop insurance, petrol cards and telephone services, etc. will certainly be available as part of the package.
Sedman says the Federation has the assistance and support of key retailers, EMTA, Aylesbury College (with whom Alan Finch will still be
contracted), USE, Venhill Engineering, Hope and Hayes via Hotlines.
ATB Sales have indicated initial interest in our training services. Dawes, Zoobits, Moore Large, Nimrod and Iron Horse already provide sponsorship assistance for our training services. Initial discussions have also taken place with personnel at Trading Standards.
This is a significant step forward for CoBR and the industry and further
proof that we are focussed not just on the improvement of margins but on helping establish and raise Thresholds of Competence for the benefit of both retailer and supplier, reiterated Sedman.
Tel: 01908 613263,