Battery World upskills employees

By Sarah Stowe | 27 Aug 2019 View comments

Battery World Australia is upskilling employees through a partnership with TAFE. The education institutions in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria offer staff the chance to undertake a Certificate II in auto electric technology.

TAFE designed the course around Battery World staff who complete practical assessments daily in the 112 stores across the country.

The franchise chain’s operations trainer Coralee Haskew explains the course allows staff to work around store demands.  “Staff training is a double edge sword for most organisations. We know we need it but taking away valuable staff during peak trading hours is something many small businesses cannot afford.

“TAFE has understood and quantified the work our team does on a day to day basis, so this course has accelerated units valuing the practical instore work by staff which they document, log and take photographs of, for their portfolios.

“Their ‘class time’ is then out of store hours at a TAFE, where they cover off on other ‘in-class’ practical assessments, along with theory before undertaking a number of exams to mark off as competent for that unit. “

Upskilling initiative started with franchisees

The initiative started when franchisees enrolled their staff in courses because they could see benefits in upskilling staff.  Battery World quickly picked up the baton, negotiating with TAFE educators to work out how to roll this out in stores across the country.

Queensland franchisee Steve Minter [above with employee Tom Steer] owns four stores. He was the first to pay and enrol one of his staffers in a traditional TAFE auto electrician certificate course. He knew he needed to upskill to best service his 24-hour battery roadside assist business.

“I am not an auto sparky, I have never done a course like that so I thought it would be a great opportunity for one of our young staffers,” Minter says. “When one person learns it teaches you a few things and it gets passed onto everyone. In business the more people know, the easier it is. Keeping that information to yourself doesn’t help grow your business.”

Franchisees benefit from staff retention

Franchisees benefit from keeping team members and upskilling, special training and educational opportunities are crucial to staff retention.

“All of a sudden I have these young guys talking confidently to customers about alternators, dual battery systems, the technology of batteries and solar setups,” Minter says. “Where once they might have had to defer to senior staff now they live and breathe the technology, giving our customers a value-add they will not get anywhere else.”

Haskew says “The staff completing the course say they feel valued. They feel confident they can take on additional responsibilities. They feel it is a bit of a step up, a feather in their cap. It’s also a nationally recognised certification so that is something that goes onto their resume as well, so they see their time with the franchisee as productive and tend to work harder.”