Torq Zone Academy officially opens its doors

The Torq Zone Academy hit the headlines in August with the announcement of their intention to establish South Africa’s first bicycle technical training facility. The Torq Zone Academy was to offer internationally accredited Cytech™ technical courses exclusively in South Africa.
Torq Zone Academy workshop.jpg
The Torq Zone Academy workshop is fitted with Park Tool USA's industry-leading range of bicycle-specific tools.

Subsequently, the online course went live on the 1st of October, and shop fitting work at the actual training facility in Doringkloof Mall, Centurion continued unabated. The long anticipated shipment of Park Tool arrived the week before last. Park Tool USA, through their local distributor Cape Cycle Systems, were both instrumental and very supportive in getting this world class training facility established.

Torq Zone is very excited to announce that their Academy is now a reality and the doors to South Africa’s first state of the art technical training facility have officially opened. The UK based Cytech™ Technical scheme is now also available as class room courses in addition to the online course launched earlier. “The course schedules for the next 6 months are available and you can book your course directly on our website”, said Graeme Stickells, MD of Torq Zone Academy.

Torq Zone Academy Graeme Stickells.jpg
Graeme Stickells, Managing Director of Torq Zone Academy, has officially opened South Africa's first state of the art technical training facility for the bicycle industry.

“The positive response we received following the initial announcement has been quite remarkable, even exceeding our wildest expectations. It gave us lots of confidence in this exciting but also risky journey we’ve embarked on. Our planned partnerships with Corporate Social Investment programs such as ABSA Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy is particularly exciting and close to our hearts. With the support of distributors, retail shops and the cycling enthusiast alike, we are looking forward to affect real chance in the cycling industry at large” said Dirk Oerlemans, owner of Torq Zone.

To celebrate this momentous occasion and to set in motion urgently needed change in the repair and maintenance of bicycles, Torq Zone management decided to extend their launch promotion to include all Cytech™ Technical courses. The promotion makes provision to save up to 30% on your course fees. In addition you stand a chance to get all your course fees paid back as part of a lucky draw. For more info refer www.torqzoneacademy.co.za.




22 Comments

LazyLab, Dec 09 2014 06:38

Fantastic news! We can all do with some basic knowledge and some of the cycle shops will definitely benefit from qualified mechanics.

burty, Dec 09 2014 08:11

Is there anything like this in Cape Town ?

Torq Zone Academy, Dec 10 2014 07:26

Is there anything like this in Cape Town ?

We have plans to expand outside Gauteng, but this will not be for a while still. Until that time we recommend that cycle shops outside Gauteng start investing in the training of at least one of their mechanics through our Pretoria site.

Godzilla, Dec 10 2014 10:25

when one goes onto your TorqZone website and tries to get into ''courses'' nothing happens. The others seem to work but one cannot see what your ''courses'' are all about. Please will you sort that out ?

thanks

Godzilla, Dec 10 2014 10:27

seems to be fine now. All good.

Thanks

madmarc, Dec 10 2014 07:26

2 day Home mechanic course R 4 400.00 Huh !!!! that seems very steep, and do they teach you anything more than what you could learn off Google and Youtube.

 

The trade full courses will cost R 61 300.00 for 25 days of training. Is the certification recognized by any goverment taining authority and if so what NQF level will candidates be given by the National Qualifications Board.

 

Does the course fee include tools of the trade, manuals etc or is this just the course fee. 

SwissVan, Dec 10 2014 09:16

Fantastic idea...I sense a change of career if only i had the ballz to take the chance.

 

Would be interesting to hear the reply to madmarc regarding recognition and qualification after successful completion of all courses

mrbaker, Dec 10 2014 09:32

2 day Home mechanic course R 4 400.00 Huh !!!! that seems very steep, and do they teach you anything more than what you could learn off Google and Youtube.
 
The trade full courses will cost R 61 300.00 for 25 days of training. Is the certification recognized by any goverment taining authority and if so what NQF level will candidates be given by the National Qualifications Board.
 
Does the course fee include tools of the trade, manuals etc or is this just the course fee.


My initial thoughts were fairly similar.
R4400 for a two day course that covers basics that you learn on the trails as you go(except for wheel truing) seems very steep.
Good luck to them- I liked the idea of it but when I looked at the prices it put me right off...

notmyname, Dec 11 2014 06:03

I don't think many lbs' will be willing to dish out that sort of Tom. Dis n *** huis vol geld!

awesme, Dec 11 2014 06:56

problem, if guy does basic course and is semi productive, the chances of seeing him again is unlikely, as it is at the moment the interview goes something like, do you know how to do x y z, answer =yes, ok there you go.

 

only way this training will work is if some industry controlling body demands it.

 

G

 

 

My initial thoughts were fairly similar.
R4400 for a two day course that covers basics that you learn on the trails as you go(except for wheel truing) seems very steep.
Good luck to them- I liked the idea of it but when I looked at the prices it put me right off...

AlanD, Dec 11 2014 08:59

Glad i was not the only one that thought the fees were a little out there. Was interested to learn more about the mechanis but just cannot afford such hefty fees but a great idea though.

awesme, Dec 11 2014 09:14

Guys for work training this is not allot, well in the professional industries, the rates are easily 25-30k/week.

 

but think for this industry, might be a problem, shops will only maybe spend this on their star workers, to help them get the paper work... but problem is they can't afford those individuals out of the shop for that amount of time. and well to invest that amount of money in a guy that just starting is risky, and the people that will do this for a living, simple won't have that amount of money for a course.

 

 

G

CAAD4, Dec 11 2014 09:29

Business is tough for a lot of LBS' out there. How many bikes will they have to service and sell to get an ROI? I assume for family run businesses this is a tall ask at over 60k. My 2cw.

Torq Zone Academy, Dec 11 2014 01:36

Here is some clarity regarding some of the concerns raised in this thread.

 

 

Cytech Technical is a bicycle mechanic training scheme that has been in existence in the UK for 25 years, and is widely regarded as the standard for bicycle mechanic training there. It will be difficult to find a better standard to introduce into the SA industry where, un-arguably, such standards do not exist.

 

 

The concerns regarding costs are gravely overstated. At normal pricing Cytech Technical 1, with the Theory and Practical component costs a maximum of R5 400 (there is a cheaper option of completing the Theory online), Cytech Technical 2 R13 500, and Cytech Technical 3 R11 000, thus totalling R29 900.

 

 

Currently at our Launch Promotion prices it will cost a maximum of, Cytech Technical 1 R3 900, Cytech Technical 2 R9 500, and Cytech Technical R11 000, totalling R24 400. (see http://goo.gl/dfcXzs)

 

 

Not to forget that for already experienced mechanics we offer a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Assessment to Cytech Technical 2 which will cost R10 100 at normal price, but R7 100 for our Launch Promotion. Just keep in mind that such a person would have to complete the Cytech Technical 1 Theory online (£70, roughly R1800) first before being legible for the RPL Assessment.

 

 

The above prices include the Cytech Technical manuals but no tools.

 

 

Currently our training is not NQF aligned purely for the reason that no NQF registered qualification for bicycle mechanics is registered on the NQF, therefore no SETA accreditation can take place. We are rectifying this and have already submitted an application to the QCTO, the authority responsible for qualification development in the trades and occupations sub-framework, to develop a bicycle mechanic National Qualification. This might however still take some time to get done as the QCTO is inundated with applications for the development of qualifications.  

 

 

However, the certificate issued to the learner on completion of the various courses is issued by the Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) in the UK who are the owners of Cytech Technical. Cytech is in the process of expanding its footprint and is set to soon become the global standard for bicycle mechanic training. (see http://goo.gl/QtO7jC)

 

 

To the home enthusiasts, yes you can continue learning processes off of Google and YouTube, there is nothing wrong with that. However our Home Mechanic course teaches you the principles or fundamentals of that process.

 

 

Yes the courses may appear to cost a lot, but the return of investment and the benefits of highly competent and capable mechanics to the mechanic themselves, the LBS owner and the consumer should outweigh this.

 

 

Apologies for the long winded response but I hope it has put the misunderstandings right.

awesme, Dec 11 2014 02:23

Now with the prices listed below, and different options, ye thats more like it.

 

Previous comments here/ye I did not go and read the web site... was not competitive.

 

this is. Good response.

 

G

 

Here is some clarity regarding some of the concerns raised in this thread.

 

 

Cytech Technical is a bicycle mechanic training scheme that has been in existence in the UK for 25 years, and is widely regarded as the standard for bicycle mechanic training there. It will be difficult to find a better standard to introduce into the SA industry where, un-arguably, such standards do not exist.

 

 

The concerns regarding costs are gravely overstated. At normal pricing Cytech Technical 1, with the Theory and Practical component costs a maximum of R5 400 (there is a cheaper option of completing the Theory online), Cytech Technical 2 R13 500, and Cytech Technical 3 R11 000, thus totalling R29 900.

 

 

Currently at our Launch Promotion prices it will cost a maximum of, Cytech Technical 1 R3 900, Cytech Technical 2 R9 500, and Cytech Technical R11 000, totalling R24 400. (see http://goo.gl/dfcXzs)

 

 

Not to forget that for already experienced mechanics we offer a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Assessment to Cytech Technical 2 which will cost R10 100 at normal price, but R7 100 for our Launch Promotion. Just keep in mind that such a person would have to complete the Cytech Technical 1 Theory online (£70, roughly R1800) first before being legible for the RPL Assessment.

 

 

The above prices include the Cytech Technical manuals but no tools.

 

 

Currently our training is not NQF aligned purely for the reason that no NQF registered qualification for bicycle mechanics is registered on the NQF, therefore no SETA accreditation can take place. We are rectifying this and have already submitted an application to the QCTO, the authority responsible for qualification development in the trades and occupations sub-framework, to develop a bicycle mechanic National Qualification. This might however still take some time to get done as the QCTO is inundated with applications for the development of qualifications.  

 

 

However, the certificate issued to the learner on completion of the various courses is issued by the Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) in the UK who are the owners of Cytech Technical. Cytech is in the process of expanding its footprint and is set to soon become the global standard for bicycle mechanic training. (see http://goo.gl/QtO7jC)

 

 

To the home enthusiasts, yes you can continue learning processes off of Google and YouTube, there is nothing wrong with that. However our Home Mechanic course teaches you the principles or fundamentals of that process.

 

 

Yes the courses may appear to cost a lot, but the return of investment and the benefits of highly competent and capable mechanics to the mechanic themselves, the LBS owner and the consumer should outweigh this.

 

 

Apologies for the long winded response but I hope it has put the misunderstandings right.

 

madmarc, Dec 11 2014 06:45

Thanks for the response and clarity on your pricing structure, maybe as a suggestion, clarify this better on your website price lists, as when reading it on face value it seems expensive and could chase prospective customers away (as i read it to be over 60K)

 

Even with your prices now being clarified, i still think it's over the top. If i was a LBS, there is no way i would pay that kind of money to qualify my mechanic who could then simply leave and go work for another LBS down the road for a few hundred ronds more. the labour law also doesn't allow me to tie him into a contract to ensure he stays in my business for a period after the certification so i can get a return on my investment.

 

With no NQF level this is not a recognized qualification in SA. so unless the recipient is planning on immigrating to the UK it has no value over here. The same problem exists with many UK varsities offering diploma's and in some instances degrees through local higher learning institutes which are not recognized for a NQF level. when applying for a job, companies want to see the NQF level or they will not consider the qualification. 

 

Good luck with QTCO, they are about as efficient as ESKOM.

 

The only way i see value in this system, is if there is a recognized trade as a bicycle mechanic which would be a 2 or 3 year trade, with these courses forming the theoretical training of the trade and be a minimum requirement to write a trade test in order to qualify. (the same as a Diesel Mechanic who needs to do 4 years and complete at least NTC 2 or 3) Now a LBS would be able to legally lock an apprentice into a contract and get a tax / skills levy rebate, as well as a ROI from the apprentice working in his business for the duration of the period.

 

I think you are cutting out a huge segment of your potential market with these kind of prices. People like me (the so called back yard mechanic who do it for fun and not really a living) as well as people (like me again) that would love to sponser my garden technologist, to get him a formal trade/qualification so he can get employed and earn a sustainable income.

 

But good luck with the venture, that is one kickass workshop, which i can only dream of owning one day.

markmad, Dec 11 2014 09:46

Madmarc , you are putting a lot of emphasis on whether these courses are accredited in terms of the NQF system and seemed to be concerned with regards to the lack a SETA involvement .

 

Since the inception of our new systems to try and churn our artisans as quickly as possible and to try and match a NQF next to a certain level of education it has only been but a disaster .If you work in the technical environment you will understand why South African industry is in constant battle with candidates from our new fast food system.

So allocating a NQF means really very little as it’s not a qualification but just means of incompetent body trying to evaluate qualifications in general .So a person with a 3 year deg probably gets a NQF level  6 or is it 7 ? These disputes are ongoing because a person that has just finished a diploma at technicon  also gets a NQF level 6.And please don’t give our qualifications board any credit by trying to use their inept system.

 

These courses are expensive imo but to somebody that is a day to day pen pusher and really has no tech background might think it to be good value for money, which given that nobody has had the foresight to do this before then I say good for them as they making a positive difference .Imagine the rent they pay for the floor space just to be able to open the door every morning.

 

Making a trade out of this is perhaps pushing it because really I would think in 6 months they would cover all the basis and more time imo wouldn’t be necessary, and besides trades in this country are not of the caliber they used to be and have been like that for the past 10-15 years .Now when you look for quality staff you have to check at which company they were trained at because evaluating a person on having a trade test alone has become meaningless.  

 

I would rather these people stay far away from SETA and any NQF system and rather uphold a high standard themselves by offering a course structure that has been proven and been around for some time.

Torq Zone Academy, Dec 11 2014 09:58

Thanks for the response and clarity on your pricing structure, maybe as a suggestion, clarify this better on your website price lists, as when reading it on face value it seems expensive and could chase prospective customers away (as i read it to be over 60K)

 

Even with your prices now being clarified, i still think it's over the top. If i was a LBS, there is no way i would pay that kind of money to qualify my mechanic who could then simply leave and go work for another LBS down the road for a few hundred ronds more. the labour law also doesn't allow me to tie him into a contract to ensure he stays in my business for a period after the certification so i can get a return on my investment.

 

With no NQF level this is not a recognized qualification in SA. so unless the recipient is planning on immigrating to the UK it has no value over here. The same problem exists with many UK varsities offering diploma's and in some instances degrees through local higher learning institutes which are not recognized for a NQF level. when applying for a job, companies want to see the NQF level or they will not consider the qualification. 

 

Good luck with QTCO, they are about as efficient as ESKOM.

 

The only way i see value in this system, is if there is a recognized trade as a bicycle mechanic which would be a 2 or 3 year trade, with these courses forming the theoretical training of the trade and be a minimum requirement to write a trade test in order to qualify. (the same as a Diesel Mechanic who needs to do 4 years and complete at least NTC 2 or 3) Now a LBS would be able to legally lock an apprentice into a contract and get a tax / skills levy rebate, as well as a ROI from the apprentice working in his business for the duration of the period.

 

I think you are cutting out a huge segment of your potential market with these kind of prices. People like me (the so called back yard mechanic who do it for fun and not really a living) as well as people (like me again) that would love to sponser my garden technologist, to get him a formal trade/qualification so he can get employed and earn a sustainable income.

 

But good luck with the venture, that is one kickass workshop, which i can only dream of owning one day.

 

Before starting the Academy I worked at SAQA for six years developing qualifications for numerous sectors. I therefore have a good understanding of the NQF landscape, and trade or occupational related training.

 

The National Qualification, when developed, will have a theoretical component, a practical component and a workplace component, very similar to the trade system. However unlike a trade such as the diesel mech there is not as much learning content so I do not think the training will be as longer than a year, if that.

 

The absence of a National Qualification does not however mean that we should not make an attempt to establish a training standard in an industry that desperately needs it. Hence our introduction of Cytech.

 

If you get a chance come make a turn at the workshop. I would love to tap your brain on this matter and hear your further thoughts, it sounds as if you might have experience in this sort of thing. 

 

PS. We have developed an "adopt-a-technician" programme for people wanting to sponsor someone who needs a helping hand. For this programme we, along with a recognised organisational developer, have developed an ideal brain thinking profile against which the candidate can be assessed to determine his/her suitability. We will also be offering discount on such a person's training.

madmarc, Dec 11 2014 10:47

Madmarc , you are putting a lot of emphasis on whether these courses are accredited in terms of the NQF system and seemed to be concerned with regards to the lack a SETA involvement .

 

Since the inception of our new systems to try and churn our artisans as quickly as possible and to try and match a NQF next to a certain level of education it has only been but a disaster .If you work in the technical environment you will understand why South African industry is in constant battle with candidates from our new fast food system.

So allocating a NQF means really very little as it’s not a qualification but just means of incompetent body trying to evaluate qualifications in general .So a person with a 3 year deg probably gets a NQF level  6 or is it 7 ? These disputes are ongoing because a person that has just finished a diploma at technicon  also gets a NQF level 6.And please don’t give our qualifications board any credit by trying to use their inept system.

 

These courses are expensive imo but to somebody that is a day to day pen pusher and really has no tech background might think it to be good value for money, which given that nobody has had the foresight to do this before then I say good for them as they making a positive difference .Imagine the rent they pay for the floor space just to be able to open the door every morning.

 

Making a trade out of this is perhaps pushing it because really I would think in 6 months they would cover all the basis and more time imo wouldn’t be necessary, and besides trades in this country are not of the caliber they used to be and have been like that for the past 10-15 years .Now when you look for quality staff you have to check at which company they were trained at because evaluating a person on having a trade test alone has become meaningless.  

 

I would rather these people stay far away from SETA and any NQF system and rather uphold a high standard themselves by offering a course structure that has been proven and been around for some time.

 

MarkMad....I have a backward twin LOL

 

I agree with you 100% but unfortunately the NQF levels are the only thing we have in our inept system, as stupid as it may be, companies use it to identify what level your qualification is. so if I have a degree from an overseas university which is given an NQF 7 then it would be the same as a similar local degree which places me at the same level of qualification. In theory its a good idea and BTW we had a similar system back in the old days (damn there i give away my age) where if you came into SA as an expat with O levels, the Education dept would award you a Highschool certificate which was similar. Based on this you were placed in that repsective standard to finish your schooling in SA (if i remember o levels was supposed to be matric but you were issued with a std 9 cert enabling you to write your matric certificate)

 

The Dip / Degree NQF 7 level argument is also as old as the hills. some of us did the old NTC blocks and were issued with National Certificates (NTC3 or Matric level) National Diplomas (NTC 6), some did T blocks up to T4 and were issued with National Higher Diplomas. the others went to varsity and did BSC degrees. so which was the higher qualified person?

The Higher Diploma guys said they were because it was 4 year post matric qualification.

The National Diploma guys said they were the same as the BSC guys because both were 3 year post matric qualification.

But if you wanted to write your Goverment ticket (for mech or elect engineering) and you had a BSC you could not and had to go to technicon to do T4 or college to do NTC 6 to be allowed to write.

At the end of the day, companies had to decide if they wanted a qualified person with all the theory, they employed a BSC degree and if they wanted the same person with the practical experience they employed a Nat Dip or Nat Higher Dip.

 

Today most courses have their Dip set at 2 years and the 3rd year gets you a degree, so Dip gets NQF 6 and Degree gets you NQF 7 (highest level) stupid I know because i'd like to know what a Masters is or a 7 year doctors degree ??

 

You cannot discredit the system as stupid as it is, because if companies want to claim against their skills levy, they have to train their staff and only accredited training courses will qualify your claim. You cannot simply send your staff on any course, get a certificate and claim. This course, as great and expensive as it is, falls into that catagory.

BigBoy10, Dec 11 2014 10:51

if you see what service cost, think good investment in yourself over time

madmarc, Dec 11 2014 11:02

Before starting the Academy I worked at SAQA for six years developing qualifications for numerous sectors. I therefore have a good understanding of the NQF landscape, and trade or occupational related training.

 

The National Qualification, when developed, will have a theoretical component, a practical component and a workplace component, very similar to the trade system. However unlike a trade such as the diesel mech there is not as much learning content so I do not think the training will be as longer than a year, if that.

 

The absence of a National Qualification does not however mean that we should not make an attempt to establish a training standard in an industry that desperately needs it. Hence our introduction of Cytech.

 

If you get a chance come make a turn at the workshop. I would love to tap your brain on this matter and hear your further thoughts, it sounds as if you might have experience in this sort of thing. 

 

PS. We have developed an "adopt-a-technician" programme for people wanting to sponsor someone who needs a helping hand. For this programme we, along with a recognised organisational developer, have developed an ideal brain thinking profile against which the candidate can be assessed to determine his/her suitability. We will also be offering discount on such a person's training.

 

Don't get me wrong i'm certainly not knocking your courses, but i am a business man and been in business many years. So when i see the amount of money and effort that has been invested into your academy with state of the art tools and workshops, and being a passionate cyclist i see something that the industry desperately needs and i'd hate to see it fail.

 

My business brain (as small as it is) tells me that your fees won't allow you to leverage your target market being the LBS. The risk is higher than the reward. Reduce the risk, get more people through the door too make it successfull. Once you are accredited, the reward is much higher and you can charge a higher fee.

 

I'll come see you when GOOGLE and Youtube can no longer provide me with solutions LOL. :thumbup:

 

PS. Nothing wrong with a recognized 1 year apprenticeship for bicycle mechanic. I used the Diesel Mech. appyship for the sake of the discussion.

 

Picture this :

 

A kid comes out of school with a matric and is a passionate cyclist. Cannot find a job (very real in this country) a 1 year recognized apprenticeship and he is a lot more employable than he was with a matric. He could even start his own business.

markmad, Jan 09 2015 06:54

Madmarc,I know the reply is a little late as I haven't been on here for awhile but would like to say you make a good point and your insight is of value.

I would like to add a little though and I have found this interesting as I have had dealings with some young students lately and have done some catchup studying myself.

The old NTC 6 with correct pass mark and 2years ex gives you a ND.A Underated course imo probably because it's offered by a fet college so lacks the status of a university.All exams are national so everybody writes the same standard.

Universities of technology or technicons.
Year 3 = ND with one year practical or very much the same as the old T3
Year4=Btech deg or old HND with one year practical or like old T4
But I find the Btech seems to carry more status even though structure of the course seem to be the same as the old HND.
My concerns are that not all technicons are upto the same standard and exams,projects etc are in house .In the case of projects the team shares the mark so a hanger on gets through this way.

Bsc degree.Is the only proper degree in engineering but my view is these people are analytical people and most of them seem to be happier been office bound .

If you measure the ability of an engineer by asking whether or not he or she has passed a GCC then according to my info the most successful candidates have been form the technicon educational system .The BSC candidates actually don't excel with this exam and there has been some controversy with them been excused from one of the two exams though that has changed.

Even more interesting is you could complete a N6 (fet system)with necessary GCC subjects write and hopefully pass the exam and your status within the organization with a NQF 5 will be superior to aBSC degreed person with a NQF 7.