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The AM Award for Training

##training--right## The Audi Academy was formed in 1997 to provide a range of learning solutions to the 130 franchised Audi Centres across the country. What makes the training delivered by the academy stand out is not just the quality, but also the method in which it is delivered. Over the years the training offer has developed from solely classroom-based teaching to a comprehensive blended learning package utilising video, self-study, internet and interactive workshops.

Each training event now incorporates a pre and post knowledge test or assesses on-the-job effectiveness to highlight any future development needs. After training, a further evaluation of learning application and behavioural change is undertaken to measure the benefit to the business.

“At the Audi Academy we strongly believe our development programme, tailored to the needs of our business and customers, has proved to be an important prerequisite to improving our bottom-line business performance,” says Audi Academy manager, Katie Gallagher.

Recruitment, continuous development and staff retention are also focused on by the Academy and through its field team of development consultants it provides comprehensive coaching and support for Audi Centre teams. They work specifically with line managers and heads of business covering all aspects related to human resources, ranging from recruitment and development needs to performance appraisals and exit interviews.

Testimony to the quality of the development consultants is shown in the positive feedback the Academy receives from Audi centres on the effectiveness of training. Another important differentiator between the Audi Academy methodology and those of other training programmes is the shift away from training which is not specific to the needs of the target audience. For Audi Centre team members this continuous training assessment allows them to follow a three-tier qualification route for their chosen role, leading to accreditation, qualification and ultimately Audi Senior status.

In April last year, the Academy also launched a dedicated recruitment service. Many dealers are already using the service and benefiting from subsidised media advertising. As with all the services provided by the Academy, direct feedback is vitally important.

Customer satisfaction was illustrated by the Audi Centre Survey, carried out in 2003, which demonstrated the value and effectiveness of the Academy training. The Academy has been voted the best Audi UK support service by the franchise Audi network for the past five years and last year 99% of Audi dealers stated that 'training had improved their performance'. “The Academy develops a people strategy to support delivery of Audi UK and Audi Centre business objectives each year,” says Gallagher. “Each of the targeted objectives is specifically measure against budget, key performance indicators, utilisation and customer feedback.”

Performance and development reviews are also undertaken twice annually for all staff within the Academy. Performance is measured against a specific set of key performance indicators, tracked monthly, and individual business objectives. Development needs are evaluated in line with achievement of their personal business objectives.

The Audi Academy measure employee satisfaction on an annual basis, open and honest feedback is full encouraged. The results are analysed and action taken to address any areas of concern.
JUDGES' COMMENT:
The Audi Academy is a mature, well-established programme that is held in high esteem by the dealer network. Rated consistenly the top Audi department by dealers, the Academy spans all aspects of training and people development, including recruitment and selection.



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