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Expanding training organisation the Bicycle Academy is swiftly implementing its own lessons, to ensure Australia’s only national bike mechanics apprenticeship program accurately matches the needs of the industry.
It’s a little under a year since the Bicycle Academy, a joint venture by training provider Industry Graduates and leading bicycle wholesale and retail organisation Pedal Group, opened up its program to Australia’s entire bike industry.
“In that time, we’ve received great feedback from industry members and we’re using it to regularly update the content of our Certificate III program and Cytech short courses – and how they’re delivered – so they accurately reflect the local market and the experience levels among mechanics in this country,” according to Industry Graduates Managing Director Michael Murphy.
The Bicycle Academy is Australia and NZ’s licenced provider for UK-based bike mechanic training program Cytech, which has been a global leader in the sector for the past 30 years.
It is designed and developed by people in the bicycle industry and is regularly updated, based on emerging technology and products.
Cytech provides hands-on technical training in real-world situations. Each Bicycle Academy facility comprises modern and well-equipped workshops complete with the latest tools and products.
When the Bicycle Academy secured the Australian licence for Cytech, it hand-picked four of Pedal Group’s best mechanics – for their technical knowledge, interpersonal skills and passion for teaching – and sent them to the UK in 2019 to be fully trained in delivering Cytech course.
“The team then went through all the course materials and adapted them to this market: to match factors such as Australian standards, our national work health and safety requirements, and what people are commonly riding in this country,” Michael said.
“Superb course and such a rewarding experience for my staff. Extremely organised and well run, with constant support throughout.”
The Bicycle Academy was launched in 2020, the only Australian training provider offering Cytech courses, and initially focused on training new and existing mechanics at 99 Bikes, the retail arm of Pedal Group.
Once it had upskilled many of those staff, it opened training centres in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney in mid-2022 and extended the courses to the rest of the industry.
“Rob is an excellent trainer and instructor. He is very knowledgeable about the material he is teaching and his demonstrations are excellent.”
Since then, the Bicycle Academy has trained around 920 mechanics in the Cytech Theory 1, Technical 1, 2 and e-Bike courses, and is now rolling out the more advanced Cytech Technical 3 course.
Here is feedback from two course graduates.
“Superb course and such a rewarding experience for my staff. Extremely organised and well run, with constant support throughout”: …
Rob is an excellent trainer and instructor. He is very knowledgeable about the material he is teaching and his demonstrations are excellent”: …
In addition to offering each unit as short courses, the Cytech modules also form the technical component of Bicycle Academy’s Certificate III course.
The other non-technical, elective units cover topics such as workplace health and safety, environmental and sustainable practices in the workshop, sales and customer service.
“We developed a whole new program for those units – in collaboration with our registered training partner, AGA – after going to the industry, seeing how they are operating, and how the topics are relevant to Australian IBDs,” he said.
“Hundreds of training organisations sell off-the-shelf programs but we wanted something that was bespoke, giving us a lot more control over the content and quality of the training provided.”
The Bicycle Academy also works closely with each apprentice and their employer to further tailor the training to their individual needs.
The apprenticeship is scheduled to take 18 months to complete, with Cytech training at Bicycle Academy centres roughly every three months to give students time to implement and strengthen their new skills between each unit.
However, there is flexibility in that schedule, according to an IBD’s workload and the apprentice’s prior experience.
“For example, an employee who has experience working on motorcycles but is just starting as a bicycle mechanic might be fast tracked because they already have technical skills in another area,” Michael said.
“They might skip Cytech Technical 1 and go straight to Technical 2. It is possible to complete the apprenticeship in 12 months, or students can take longer than 18 months if their personal situation requires it.”
Throughout the course of the apprenticeship, the trainers also visit each student in their workplaces as they incorporate those skills into their regular work practices.
While the Bicycle Academy is working with Bicycle Industries Australia to secure greater government recognition and financial assistance for bicycle mechanic training and accreditation, IBDs are already eligible to receive up to $3,500 in Federal Government support for each apprentice to complete the program.
Employers receive $1,750 once the apprentice reaches the first six months and the remaining $1,750 at the completion of the $6,000 apprenticeship, which has been priced to be viable for IBDs. To further assist IBDs, they have the option to pay the apprenticeship fees in monthly instalments to help with cashflow, and discounts can be arranged for employers with multiple staff completing the apprenticeship.
The organisation last month expanded its operation to include new training centres in Perth and Auckland, its first facility in NZ, and will soon have an announcement on a site in the ACT.
Cytech short courses can be booked online at www.bicycleacademy.com.au/book-a-course.
Further information about the Bicycle Academy’s courses or apprenticeships is available by emailing the Bicycle Academy’s enrolment team at firstname.lastname@example.org.