Since it commenced in the spring of 2009, Kumho Tyres’ innovative NVQ training programme has already created 22 graduates, while a further 37 tyre technicians from 31 of the company’s nationwide network of ECSTA Performance Centres (EPCs) are currently being progressed through the system. As a result of the success to date, plans are now afoot to encourage retailers from the wider EPC network to become involved.
The Level 2 and 3 national qualifications fall into three categories, namely: Vehicle Fitting Technician, Specialist Tyre Technician and Service Technician. These Government-backed apprenticeships are delivered free-of-charge for those entering the programme ahead of their 19th birthday, while older participants require a level of financial support from their employers. All the training is delivered in the workplace, overcoming the need for participants to attend college.
The scheme, which is believed to be unique within a large network of independent tyre businesses, is being run in conjunction with Kumho’s national distributor, Micheldever Tyre Services, while the training is being delivered by ReMIT - the UK’s largest motor industry specialist training provider.
The directors of AA Silencers, Simon Grocott (Level 3) and his brother Justin (Level 2), were among the first technicians to graduate from the programme and are in no doubt about the benefits to their business. Said Simon: “Having participated in the scheme ourselves, we have learnt first-hand what it can do for our employees. There is no question that the training leads to higher levels of service and professionalism, and being able to undertake the courses on site is a major bonus. We thoroughly endorse the project and will continue to support it.”
Said Kumho Tyre UK’s marketing director John Thrupp, “We are delighted with the way this programme is progressing, from which all parties involved benefit: the technicians enhance their knowledge and CVs, thus making themselves more valuable to their employers; the EPCs gain a better trained, more motivated workforce; and the customers enjoy a better service.
“We are very proud to be supporting such a programme for the EPCs and look forward to assisting ever more technicians to achieve NVQ status in the coming months/years.”