We’ve all got to start somewhere and it always helps if foundations are laid with a little help from experts in a field, be it in the workshop, on the shop floor, or even learning to ride a bike. Mark Sutton talks to the industry’s tutors within each field…
The Bike Inn
Dedicated to training mechanics who’ve aspirations to work in the bike trade, Alf and Theresa Webb’s long-running Bike Inn has trained some of the best in the trade to date, including other training outfits.
Currently running five different courses, Webb’s tutorials are certified to City and Guilds VRQ level by OFQUAL, giving mechanics Government and industry-recognised credentials when applying for jobs.
Courses cover everything from brake servicing, wheel building, hub and rim types, frame preparation, gearing, health and safety in the workplace and much more. What’s more, on completion of the course, The Bike Inn is able to arrange insurance for mechanics.
Working from a converted ex-schoolhouse, Theresa and Alf have been serving budding mechanics for decades working around the no stoned unturned ethos that “one should have full knowledge and understanding of what he/she is dealing with to ensure a competent, correct and safely completed job. Don’t be a fitter, be a fully trained mechanic.”
Courses at the Bike Inn run during January 14th to 25th, March 11th to 22nd, April 15th to 26th, June 3rd to 14th, August 5th to 16th, September 9th to 20th, October 14th to 25th and November 25th through December 6th. One day courses on hydraulics are available, as well as shortened five day stints.
Dedicated to improving the skills of beginners in cycling, MTB Instruction offers mountain bike skills coaching experiences for ages from 7 to 70, enhancing core skills, bike control and building confidence on the bike, always with an emphasis on enjoying the ride.
Mark James, director at the firm, told BikeBiz: “Our courses are fluid in a way that the client can book an introduction course, but quickly move on to intermediate and advanced skill levels depending on how comfortable they are on the bike, after all it’s their day. Their comfort zones are pushed just enough to inspire them to take their skills up a level which in turn boosts their confidence on the bike. We believe all these key elements form a connection and as they become second nature the more relaxed the rider becomes on the bike and speed is now your friend.”
MTB Instruction runs women-specific days, kids and youth-schools coaching programmes and has also developed a skills coaching programme for a Maltese based voluntary organisation “Emergency Rescue Corps” delivering the course in the New Year in Gozo.
James added: “We are also looking to generate synergies with cycle retail outlets offering discounted MTB skills coaching sessions with any mountain bike sales, Trek Bikes concept store in Milton Keynes being the first interested in this offer.”
Colin Rees, Quest Consultants
Colin Rees describes himself as a ‘bike-specific’ sales trainer, with a knack for changing the bad habits of shop floor staff and turning them into pro-active sales people. The courses he runs are not directed towards general retail, but to retailing in bike shops.
His experience of providing sales training for 15 years to some 400-plus bike shops, as well as companies such as Madison, Specialized, Chicken, Giant and Gill, to name a few, has given him a keen insight into the cycle industry.
Courses range from basic, intermediate and advanced retail sales sessions and manager workshops, as well as tele sales courses. Teamwork, confidence building and modern techniques comprise the content all spelled out in delegate’s workbooks. Rees’ background is in marketing and business consultancy, as well as advising owners on increasing the bottom line.
Courses range from £350, depending on store size, and with January and February quiet times ahead, it’s an ideal time for training. Rees says one bike store recently forecast an additional £100,000 turnover from just one method taught that they had never thought of. For more details email from firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07540 351 530.
Cycle Systems Academy
For 2013, BikeBiz ‘Rising Star’ Award-winner Cycle Systems Academy and Havering College have continued to develop an exciting variety of cycle mechanic training packages.
For the first time ever all staff will be eligible for government subsidised training. Both level two certificate and level three Diploma courses are available with up to 75 per cent off for staff of any age, with any (or no) previous qualifications. This package comprises of ten days training at each level at the Academy in central London. (Some assessment-only options are also available for staff who have the skills but not the qualifications.)
Sean Lally, sales director, told BikeBiz “It’s a great time for the industry to get in touch. There are all sorts of deals on the table – for example, employers in Essex may be eligible for up to £2,500 in extra subsidies.”
Apprenticeships are also covered by Cycle Systems. The Level two Cycle Mechanic apprenticeship is run over 12 months and is fully subsidised for under 19s. There is a small employer contribution for 19-25s. The 12-month framework consists of a VRQ Cycle Maintenance and Repair module, at the Academy (ten days), an NVQ Engineering Maintenance and Installation (cycle specific), in the workplace functional skills, personal learning and thinking skills, as well as employment rights and responsibilities at Havering College (ten days).
Additionally for 2013, Cycle Systems has introduced a one day basic maintenance course open to all, a Brompton specific one day course, a two day Sapim wheelbuilders course, as well as factory approved two day Sturmey Archer and Campagnolo EPS modules, the latter run by Greame Freestone King, head of the UK’s service centre.
Lally adds: “Shimano Di2 is currently included in the standard Level three package, but as the range expands we shall deliver an additional course to cover this.”
Furthermore, Cycle Systems Academy and Havering College are developing a multi-level frame building course, which will include both steel and titanium frame design and manufacture. Expect this course to begin summer 2013. Pre-registration to this class is open already.
020 7608 2577
November saw the first Fox Suspension Training course delivered by ATG at the Aylesbury training centre. The course is a collaboration between Mojo Suspension, the UK distributor for Fox, and ATG. Designed to offer mechanics the skills to perform shop servicing on a range of Fox suspension components, the course could save stores dealing with Fox time and money.
Tim Williams from Mojo said: “It was clear that there would be a big demand for the course as we are asked daily if we can offer training on our products. Approaching ATG Training with their experience delivering Cytech mechanic courses was the obvious choice.
“With the first courses fully booked, it’s good to see dealers recognise the opportunities the course provides. There is a huge pool of service and maintenance work out there for Fox Suspension, which we can help dealers profit from by de-mystifying our products.”
Mojo’s technicians are still on hand to provide more specialist services unable to be completed in store. For more info visit www.cycletraining.co.uk or for more on ATG’s vast array of cycle mechanic courses head to www.atg-training.co.uk
As the official service centre for Campagnolo products in the UK, Velotech Cycling is your first port of call to teach mechanics the intricacies of the latest in all Campagnolo gear, including EPS systems. Three day courses at the Buckinghamshire facility offer mechanics the chance to become certified, though Velotech Platinum or Cytech 2 / City and Guilds level 2 is a pre-requisite for this course.
Velotech’s course is an essential element for full Campagnolo ProShop status, and outside of courses run in Italy and subsidiaries worldwide, is the only one enjoying full support from the Campagnolo factory, which has seen and approved all training materials.
Furthermore, Velotech Cycling provides in-depth modules on wheelbuilding alongside Sapim with day courses available.
Sturmey Archer day courses are also provided with dyno-hubs explored, among other current and older Sturmey products. Modules on hydraulics and suspension are also catered for. Bike Fitting is also offered at Velotech as a one day course. This is a mixed theoretical and hands-on course that explores some fundamentals of bike fitting. It draws on materials from LeMond Cycling, Bike Fitting.com, Claude Genzling, Paul Swift, Andy Pruitt and many others.
Greame Freestone King adds: "We offer a full range of general mechanics training with essentially the same skill set as the CyTech / City and Guilds accreditations in modular format, as well as the the Campagnolo and other manufacturer-approved, brand-specific and high-level training noted above. Please see www.velotech-cycling.ltd.uk for details, or drop me a mail at email@example.com."