Cover Story

The future of vocational training

The recent launch of Technica Learning Resources for vocational training has already proven to be a success around the world.

The online training process started about three years ago when the Midas Group identified a need to develop skills for the organisation and their staff. According to project coordinator, Michael Turnbull: “There is a general skills shortage in the industry and a need to develop highly skilled technicians. Based on this urgent need, we were prepared to develop our own automotive training product. However, factoring in the availability of resources and content, and the time required to put together the product, and the fact that internationally this training had already been developed, we decided that re-inventing the wheel was counterproductive. After researching what was available overseas and applicable to our market, we contacted CDX Automotive, a leading automotive, multimedia and e-learning provider and requested assistance in the development of an automotive training programme suitable for South Africa. CDX is used by 70% of colleges in the UK and 100% of TAFE colleges in Australia that cater for automotive training.We decided to utilise their content on a custom-built site, with our own branding, and do something that is best suited for our company, franchisees and the local market.” He adds, “After looking at the extent of the content, we realised that it’s actually a resource that could be offered to the motoring industry at large.”

Midas also saw an opportunity from an e-commerce point of view and developed a business model around the product for the open market i.e. workshop owners and apprentices. The e-commerce enabled workshops and open-market users to subscribe to the product and receive the user details within minutes. This saved on time and simplified online learning in the process.

Technica can be used by technicians who have never had any formal training to reinforce their practical skills with theoretical principles. The product has the largest library of the highest quality interactive automotive training products available in South Africa. The product operates on a Know-See-Do-Prove principle and offers 1041 courses, with subscriptions that are valid for 12 months, and with access to all courses at any time.

Technica also provides an opportunity to build custom learning management systems (LMS) for large organisations with their own branding and with course material that is mapped to their own standards and levels. There are a substantial number of people who need to be trained with up-to-date material and there is a need to move from paper-based material to a digitised format where you can deliver training to a student at any time or place. This is the focus of Technica and that’s how it is being leveraged into all markets and vocational training.

Technica has been gratified with the acceptance by large organisations. “Corporates have shown a great deal of interest in terms of building customised LMS for their internal use. We found that a number of corporates have limited access to training material and required new and fresh content. It makes sense because corporates have access to infrastructure and they can put systems in place to facilitate the process for learners to train,” Michael explains.

The establishment of Technica Learning Resources as the marketing and distribution partner of CDX in the global market has led us to focus on the emerging markets, and their need for both online solutions as well as printed materials. Since 2012 there has been a major effort to develop high quality printed textbooks in a variety of trades and disciplines, matching very closely the material presented online.

This focus on the emerging markets and a variety of learning materials has positioned Technica as a global content developer, distributor and solutions provider.