Bike mechanic training enterprise The Bicycle Academy has expanded its operations into Perth and Auckland, with courses set to start at those centres in July.
The academy, established by the bicycle retail and wholesale company Pedal Group and training organisation Industry Graduates, has established training facilities in Perth suburb of Osborne Park and East Tamaki in Auckland.
The Bicycle Academy is also hoping to announce a location in the ACT soon, in response to feedback indicating there is high demand in that territory.
Industry Graduates managing director Michael Murphy said student numbers had been encouraging since the academy was opened up to the wider industry in October last year.
“We’ve had around 920 people trained so far in 80 Cytech courses since we’ve made them available to other dealers.”
The organisation, launched in late 2020, had initially focused on training new and existing mechanics at 99 Bikes, which is the retail arm of Pedal Group.
Early last year, it opened training centres in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney, with an emphasis on courses through UK-based bike industry training organisation Cytech.
With much of the 99 Bikes training backload cleared by mid-2022, the academy announced it was opening its courses to all of the Australian bicycle industry, to address a national shortage of high-level training.
“We’ve had around 920 people trained so far in 80 Cytech courses since we’ve made them available to other dealers, even though we haven’t done a lot of promotion,” Michael said.
“Cytech UK is very happy with the way Australia is going and the numbers we are putting through to date. At the moment, we’re training around 50 students a month across the four locations.
“We are certainly planning to step up our marketing and promotion of the academy in the coming months, and we’re confident the numbers will pick up as there’s more visibility with the brand.”
“We’ve had a specific push from 99 Bikes and a couple of the other big employers who are seeing a massive increase in sales and enquiries about e-bikes.”
He said like the existing academy facilities, the new Perth and Auckland sites will offer five Cytech courses – Cytech Theory 1, Technical 1,2, 3, & e-Bike.
The academy has previously been running the Technical 1 and 2 courses, while Technical 3 was delayed because the industry’s recent supply chain interruptions had slowed the supply of necessary components and hardware for the more advanced course.
“That equipment is in place, so our Cytech 3 courses are now starting,” he said.
“However, we’ve also pushed the e-bike course up the order because of demand.
“We’ve had a specific push from 99 Bikes and a couple of the other big employers who are seeing a massive increase in sales and enquiries about e-bikes.
“We’ve already had about 160 people do that course so far nationally.”
Late last year, the academy introduced an online booking system for its Cytech courses, including an invoicing option for employers.
Certificate III Apprenticeship
Since the academy’s inception, it has also offered a Certificate III apprenticeship, an employer-based traineeship in bicycle workshop operations and the national-level qualification for bicycle mechanic training.
Michael said the Bicycle Academy is working with NZ training institutions to offer the apprenticeship’s NZ equivalent, with hopes that will be in place in 2024.
He said further growth of Bicycle Academy’s courses would be boosted if an ongoing national review of occupations gives a higher rating to bicycle mechanics, raising the industry’s potential to gain government support for training.
Industry Graduates collaborated with peak lobby group Bicycle Industries Australia on BIA’s submissions to a full review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) being undertaken during 2023-24.
Michael said the Industry Graduates submission is calling for the bicycle mechanics rating to be lifted from Level 5 – the lowest rung on the rating system – to a level equivalent with automotive mechanics.
Further information about the review is available on the ANZSCO website.