Mazda is encouraging its network of dealers to help shape its training programmes to ensure they’re useful back in the dealership.
Training is seen as a two-way exercise with trainers and trainees exchanging ideas.
Bram van den Berg, director of the Mazda Academy, said: “If we prescribe something and they know it doesn’t work in their dealerships, they’re encouraged to tell us so we can all work out a solution.
“We focus on training that gives the dealer network exactly what it wants by asking dealers what they want.”
Mazda said it was changing the way dealer principals view training as it was embracing modern technology.
Almost 90% of the training is done online and interactively through podcasts, webinars or other forms of e-learning that include video, drag and drop functions and multiple choice questions.
This approach helps overcome in-built resistance to training, seen by many as an irritation because it takes staff away from their desks and can create staff shortages, explained Bram.
Training at the Mazda Academy is currently focused on sales, aftersales, parts and technical maintenance; a bodyshop scheme is also being developed.
The Mazda Academy also makes dealer visits.
The Academy’s dealer enhancement programme puts Mazda UK business managers on site working with the dealers – from receptionists to dealer principals - to unearth the real issues facing the business and come up with solutions in the form of an action plan.
The business managers also follow-up with the trainees when they return from the Academy to make sure they are using their training. This is aimed at encouraging dealerships to take ownership of formal learning to make sure the whole business develops and moves to the next level.