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SPX opens £2m training centre

SPX Service Solutions has opened a £2 million training centre in Gloucester.  The centre in Hardwicke offers the latest technology and has four workshops and eight classrooms.

Apprentices from Renault and Chrysler have been using it since September.

SPX project manager Andy Webb said it was also looking into serving the local independent network.

Parts staff, receptionists and sales people may also receive training there. 

MoT testing equipment such as a Technotest gas analyser and smoke meter which uses Bluetooth technology to produce results in two minutes, is among the technology available.

An air conditioning servicing unit by Robinair, Wheel Alignment UK apparatus and black SPX tool chests also feature in the workshop.

Fourteen engines and five gearboxes are available for training while Renault and Chrysler have been supplying vehicles for the apprentices to use.

Webb said: “We felt the need to set it up because Gloucester has a strategic motorway network and fits in well with our training centres in Scotland and Nottingham. It means we now have national coverage.

“We can offer apprentices leading-edge technology. 

“It is a professional industry and we must ensure apprentices are kept up-to-date with the latest technology, which they would not have if it wasn’t for a centre like this.”

Lead trainer Eddie Lightfoot said apprentices from main dealers had been taught at the site since February, with about 100 going through the doors so far.

He said they learned about basic vehicle construction and engine layout plus academic skills such as maths, IT and communication.

“They are here to complete a framework for NVQ level three, key skills and technical certificate.

After these three parts, which take three years, they are given an automotive skills certificate and then put through the Automotive Technician Accreditation,” he said.Anthony Hicks, technology trainer of Isuzu Trucks, said the company had been talking to SPX about the programme because it wanted new ideas and not something “off the shelf.” 

However, this had been put on hold due to the economic downturn.

Michael Willis, principal of the Ford College in Daventry, said: “At some point, when the industry starts to come back and we start to grow our own programme, we will look to a number of regional solutions with regard to training and this place would be ideal.

“A facility like this helps dealers in the locality control their costs by reducing the need for travel and overnight accommodation. 

“This helps apprentices stay at the dealership and improves productivity.”

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