We speak to one of the largest trainers in the bicycles industry

ATG Training: Teaching the bike technicians

Business owners and mechanics in the bicycle industry hardly need any introduction to the globally recognised training and accreditation scheme that is Cytech. There’s little wonder when you look at the stats: Over 8,000 courses have been delivered to more than a whopping 3,500 candidates, many of whom are working for familar names in the industry. In fact there are currently over 2,000 Cytech qualified staff who are employed worldwide, so to safe to that it is pretty popular would be understating the point, to say the very least.

The training programme is pitched as a must-have with a variety of training courses suited to different roles and, in a perhaps overlooked point, placing value on the high standards of technical skills in the industry.

Registered charity ATG Training has been providing apprenticeship training for more than 45 years and currently provides the largest number of Cytech courses in the UK. ATG has workshops right down ‘the spine of the country’ located in Stafford, London and Aylesbury. All three are fully fitted out with Park Tools equipment, racked and boarded on PAF benches and have a wide range of bikes and components to work on.
As the ATG itself notes, getting training right is not just about the environment itself. ATG’s training officers themselves are all fully qualified and in the main are also keen riders in their spare time, whether that’s competing on the circuits, on the road, in cyclocross or off-roading.

The courses available through ATG Training range from the Cycle Maintenance Apprenticeship, through to Cytech One, Two and Three. ATG also offers further specialism, including the likes of Specialist Wheel Building, Group Set, Brake Technology, MTB and Road Bike specific course as well as Fox Suspension dealer training, not to mention the option to create a bespoke programme or two for specific customers.

BikeBiz speaks with ATG Training’s marketing and social media manager Stephen Smyth on the all-year available training…

BikeBiz: What would you say to someone mulling over whether they should go on a course with ATG or not?
Stephen Smyth: We do not sell a course to callers, but provide them with as much information as we can to allow them to make a choice that suits their needs. How we are different to the rest of the market is that our Cytech Two course is recognised as the authoritative qualification in the trade. It also has an Engineering qualification included in the Cytech Two. Uniquely, people who attain a Cytech Two through ATG Training will gain two certificates.

BB: Can you reveal which are your most popular courses? Or is it a closely guarded trade secret?
SS: Our most popular course is the ten day Cytech Two. This has become the trade standard qualification for the professional cycle mechanic. ATG Training delivers the majority of these courses in one of three centres – London, Aylesbury and Stafford.

BB: So cycle training can take place at any of your three locations? 
SS: All our Cycles workshops are set up to deliver a range of Cytech courses. These are popular training courses and availability can be checked at www.atg-training.co.uk or by calling 01296 737800.

BB: Do you work with brands when developing the training? Is the training constantly being updated, or is it, in the main, largely unchanged?
SS: Training is constantly updated to meet the requirements of the trade, new product launches, the awarding bodies and government requirements. Given the breadth of the market, we work with a large number of international brands to ensure an unbiased and professional training. We are keenly aware that people who attend the Cytech training could be faced with many different bicycle types, drive trains or suspension products, and need to be able to service and maintain each of these with skill.

BB: ATG has road and MTB-specific courses – is this something you’ve always offered? Why do you need separate courses?
SS: We offer Road and MTB courses as this has been demanded by the trade. Some customers specialise in particular markets and required detailed and specialised training. An example of this is the suspension training we deliver on behalf of Fox where their dealers come to ATG Training for a specialist and detailed course.

BB: What’s been one of your biggest challenges recently at ATG?
SS: One of the biggest challenges ATG Training faces is the changing political landscape. As a Government funded organisation, we are able to draw down funding for employers who take on Apprentices. The Richard review is changing the way we do business.

BB: Cytech appears to be growing its global reach with the license to Torq Zone Academy in South Africa. Can we expect to see more developments overseas? 
SS: Cytech is growing globally. It is now in South Africa and there is demand from other territories in the English-speaking world. Negotiations are at a very early stage. I expect the recognition of Cytech to spread in the near future.

To find out more about the courses, their content and availability contact ATG Training on 0845 873 8440 or visit www.atg-training.co.uk

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