Jeff Minter, executive director of technical training for AR&D, told Tire Business that the training industry has often promoted the misconception that information equals knowledge. This training center, he added, is designed to equip students with the latter.
“The reality is that simply providing people with lots of information does not automatically mean they have gained more knowledge,” he said. “Our focus at the training center is to ensure that participants in our classes will actually gain knowledge, not just be supplied with information. That requires the learner to be actively involved in their learning process, both in the classroom and in the hands-on shop activities.
“Having a fixed-location training center incorporating various interactive technologies in the classroom allows us to really ensure that we can offer that to those attending training here,” he added.
Up to this point, the center has been used primarily to provide exclusive setup training to current and prospective members of The Hybrid Shop (THS), an international network of dealers specializing in the maintenance and repair of hybrid vehicles. Mr. Quarto is a co-owner of THS, and AR&D provides the franchise business with HEV battery reconditioning equipment as well as technical support.
AR&D's dedicated training facility addresses some of the shortcomings of on-site training, which has been the industry norm, according to Mr. Minter.
“To this point there has not been anything with a brick-and-mortar (building),” Mr. Minter said. “Most of the advanced technology stuff in general has been people doing what we were doing in the past — going into schools, using their facilities or, you know, the groups that typically rent a room in a hotel and do a lecture-style mini-class. There hasn't been anything in the industry in the aftermarket strictly dedicated to doing the advanced technology vehicles.”