Tag Archive | "training"

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ECP LAUNCHES ‘EURO ACADEMY’ FOR TECHNICIANS


A hybrid training vehicle

A hybrid training vehicle

Euro Car Parts has become the latest factor to introduce a training programme for independent workshops. Boasting IMI-certified training, the initiative also includes a technical helpline and an online diagnostics database that includes a library of previous faults.

The initiative is supported by training firm Grup Eina and covers all areas of vehicle maintenance. This includes electrical, electronic, mechanical and diagnostic fault-finding and offers assessment and training for every level of workshop employee. For the master technician, courses take place at one of the factor’s IMI-approved training centres, which have a number of vehicles with various simulated faults that replicate real-life vehicle issues.

The programme covers three levels of membership. Level one offers unlimited use of helpline time, as well as access to troubleshooting and online assessments for technicians. Level two adds to that with one, two-day training course, while level three offers three, two-day training courses every year.

ECP says that the first 200 garages to sign up will receive a weekend package to attend AutoInform Live, including hotel accommodation and dinner with the Euro Car Parts team. AutoInform Live takes place the weekend of 19 and 20 November and provides a great opportunity to gain aftermarket insight and training while mixing with like-minded businesses.

Martin Gray, CEO at ECP, noted: “We’re delighted to further build on our commitment to the independent garage by unveiling our new training initiative. Technology continues to evolve at pace, with vehicles that are now more fuel efficient, computationally complex and diverse than ever before. With alternatively-fuelled vehicles and connected technology all making their way into the garage, it is important that the industry is in a position to respond.”

Gray continued: “Euro Car Parts is passionate about the UK’s independent garage network and, by investing in programmes such as the Euro Academy, we want to make sure our trade customers are well- placed to further build on their far-reaching levels of quality and service. Working in partnership with our members, we will continue to invest in and develop the Euro Academy to ensure that the independent garage sector is robustly positioned for the transport infrastructure of the future.”

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TO TRAIN OR NOT TO TRAIN?


Andy SavvaI want to use this month’s article to share my views on training. During my 30-odd years in the automotive industry I have noticed a lack of training and development of people in most workshops. This is mostly due to the short-termism of the British garage owner, whether franchised or independent. However, I also believe it’s due to an imperfect understanding of how training and development of people, in particular technical staff relates itself directly to the efficiency and profit to the business.

I have always maintained the continual training and development of all my past teams was a way of generating improvements in productivity, quality, first-time fix results, used as a unique selling point (marketing terms), motivational, retention, and the recruitment of personal just to name a few. The benefits hugely outweigh the cost.

My personal outcome has unfolded through time and has been long lasting. I continue to develop my skills and hone my knowledge, I am continually learning, always striving for perfection, even though I know I will never achieve it. That’s the attitude I carried with me in all my previous garage business and currently in my personal life.
Have you ever heard or seen statements like “fully trained technicians” or that they have a fully equipped workshop? What does this mean? How can anyone quantify ‘fully’? I certainly can’t! This is a complete myth.

trainornot

MYTH
You can never be fully trained in our automotive industry, modern vehicle technology continues to advance at such a pace, vehicles are becoming increasingly sophisticated animals. Technicians today are becoming increasing more like software programming engineers! Today’s technicians must posse, mechanical, diagnostic, communication skill, have solid work practices, take pride in their work and be able to continually learn.

If this is the case, it seems that nearly all franchised and independent service business employ many of these individuals. Well I care to differ, because all I see and hear up and down the automotive sector is the struggle and challenges of finding and recruiting reasonably competent technicians let alone ‘fully skilled’ ones.

As garage owners we must be honest with ourselves, look at the services we are offering in our businesses and make sure we firstly recruit individuals who have knowledge and experience in those sectors, secondly, quickly understand the strengths and weaknesses of that individual and together create a training and development plan aligned to the services and objectives of your business. Training should not be adhoc, it needs to be structured and strategic.

BEST TIME
There has never been a better time in the independent sector to access such a wide range of training and support programs. From specific renowned diagnostic experts Frank Massey, James Dillion and Peter Coombes, parts suppliers like Andrew Page, The Parts Alliance, from our professional body the IMI, to even OE parts manufacturers like Bosch, ZF Services and Schaeff ler that open their doors to share their vast expertise and knowledge and indeed to all the trade shows and seminars hosted up and down the country throughout each year. Many of these are inexpensive in order to encourage and incentivise technicians to attend with many more being totally free. What I am saying here is that there is no excuse for not getting technicians on training courses.

At Brunswick Garage we had a philosophy of continued and training and development for our team members specifically in the area of diagnostics. 20 years ago a modern vehicle would contain severn or eight control units, now they could have anything up to 100. Our training was a combination of aftermarket training from ZF, Bosch and Schaeffler to specific brand training from BMW, Land Rover and VW-Audi direct from the mentioned academies.

However, it’s important to emphasise this was centred around the services we offered, it gave us a unique and
competitive edge within our local market place and beyond, more importantly it offered us the opportunity to charge far more than anyone else and regularly make a profit! Our annual training budget exceeded £35,000 per year which is unheard of in the independent sector.

I was proud of my team at Brunswick and what gave me immense pleasure was to see their development during the five years I had the business, the hundreds of happy customers who had their vehicles repaired correctly, promptly, and efficiently. This was possible due to our recruitment process, continued training plans and of course providing my staff with the correct tooling and equipment.

I always used to say: ‘Equipment must never be a substitute for knowledge’, it should be an aid.

For my final thought, I believe and have so for a few years, that an independent garage cannot survive offering all makes servicing and repairs, vehicle technology and a lack of skill coupled with the tooling and equipment needed makes it virtually impossible. The smart garage will specialise in a specific brand or two, or focus on a particular area on vehicle design, like steering and suspension, climate control, gearboxes, diesel or petrol engines and so on enabling the garage to charge more for that service. In turn, this will increase the opportunity to be appreciated and respected by its staff and customers and more importantly, survive in this ever changing sector.

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OESAA GARAGE TRAINING EVENT CONFIRMED

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OESAA GARAGE TRAINING EVENT CONFIRMED


rsz_gtgwolverhamptonIndependent workshop owners Frank and David Massey are putting on conference and ‘hands-on training event’ in November. The event, to be known as AutoInform Live takes its name from the technical e-zine produced by the Masseys.

The two-day seminar is being held at the GTG Academy in Wolverhampton on Saturday, November 29 and Sunday, November 30. Independent workshops keen to improve their knowledge and skills will be able to get to grips with the latest tools and products and attend technical demonstrations and presentations.

The event is sponsored by the Original Equipment Suppliers Aftermarket Association (OESAA) campaign, which is keen for well-known technicians to be associated with it. Campaign Chair nigel Morgan said: “It is our job to make this an interactive, must attend conference. If we don’t provide formal training and educate garages then the independent automotive aftermarket will fall behind. The garages who are willing to make a small investment in time and money to attend are the ones we want to talk to.”

David Massey said: “It’s a technical conference, similar to the FMN conferences that we’ve done in the past, but far more practical. We’ve got full workshop facilities.”

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Massey has always supported the OE parts campaign. “If a customer wants to supply his own parts, I make him take their car somewhere else – I do not fit non-genuine parts – period” he concluded.

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