Velotech Cycling will re-open from today having closed its training centre for three and a half months during Covid-19’s early spread.
“We are are not rushing into this” said MD and Principal Trainer Graeme Freestone King. “It’s probably something that the public and trade are tired of hearing – but we are putting candidate and staff health right at the top of our agenda. I felt I had to be 110% confident that we could deliver the standard of training and the interactivity that I think is central to our training courses, in a way that minimises risk to our candidates at to ourselves. If I couldn’t be sure of that, I didn’t want to open. Likewise, if the risk factors escalate, as we are seeing in some areas of the country now, we will have no hesitation in shutting down again.
“We have run various pilots over the last four weeks. We have been delivering some on-site training on a one-to-one basis with a couple of UK OEMs. We have also conducted a site visit and workshop facilities check, followed by a careful set of training sessions with another business, set to be our 43rd delivery partner in the UK, within the last few days.
“Both of those first steps have proved to be workable, so we have now committed to run the first courses from Stoke-on-Trent starting on 27th July. We are running the first one with just two candidates, rather than our usual maximum ratio of 5 candidates to one instructor, to see how social distancing works in practical terms in our own space.”
Freestone King says that the business has been somewhat insulated against the downturn, much thanks to the warranty and servicing work the firm carries out for Campagnolo, though the bulk of revenue does stem from training.
King added: “I’d rather be a couple of week later in opening up – and able to do it in confidence that we are doing so in a fashion as safe in the context of Corona Virus as we can make it – than be held responsible for any spread of this pernicious infection.
“Demand is unprecedented at the moment – and, partly to compensate for the lower student to trainer ratio – but just as much, as a result of the number of enquiries we are receiving – we have increased the number of training sessions we are running. Even so, we are booking considerably further ahead than we’ve ever had to book before. We have some “standby” slots for would-be candidates who can be flexible on attendance at short notice, so anyone looking to learn new skills, hone existing ones or looking for certification, should contact us via email or phone to discuss the possibilities.”
Cycling Industry News’ podcast will soon feature Freestone King of Velotech Cycling, alongside Cycle Systems’ Sean Lally. Covering ground from the advance in skills required by mechanics, all the way to industry wages, you’ll be able to tune in shortly.
Velotech Cycling can be contacted on 07533 129435.