Renault Australia expanding HQ, partnering with Kangan on apprentice training

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Renault Australia is gearing up for significant growth, announcing plans this week for a larger headquarters and a major new apprentice training program in partnership with the Kangan Institute. The French carmaker expects to finish out 2015 with around 10,000 sales, compared to just 1900 in 2010. In 2016, it expects to grow those numbers again to around 12,000. To accommodate that growth, and to better meet the needs of its already significantly larger customer base, Renault Australia is moving to larger premises, where it will add more staff and host a new apprenticeship program. Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said this week that expansion “is central to our current business plan”. “Our growth will see us transfer our national headquarters to larger premises, situated directly above the Renault Academy, in February of next year. This will provide us with the space necessary to cater for the expected increase in our staff from 57 Victorian-based staff to around 83 by 2020,” he said. Training at the Renault Academy will be carried out by Kangan’s Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE), based at Melbourne’s Docklands. Apprentices will initially come from within the existing independent Renault dealer network, but ACE will recruit and train new apprentices in the future. Hocevar said that Renault has already invested significantly in technician and apprentice training over the years, but the Renault Academy is expected to mark a significant leap forward for the brand and its dealer network. The Academy will also facilities that to store and repair batteries for electric vehicles, which form a big part of Renault’s future (although none of Renault’s four electric vehicles are currently available to buy in Australia). “Renault has invested in dealer technician and apprentice training for many years, but with the launch of the Renault Academy our training capacity is significantly increased. Between 2016 and 2020 the Renault-ACE partnership programme will train more than 200 apprentices, of which 66 will be based in Victoria. “The Renault Academy is also home to facilities that will allow us to store and repair batteries for electric vehicles, a tribute to Renault’s investment in innovative automotive technology and our commitment to the Australian market,” Mr Hocevar said. Bendigo Kangan Institute interim CEO, Amanda Brook, said that partnerships like this are “an important part of our future”. “They improve productivity by ensuring employees are trained to meet specific employer needs. At the same time, they provide students with a genuine career pathway at the end of their training.” Minister for Industry, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the announcement is “great news for young aspiring mechanics who want to receive specialist training in a state of the art facility.” “The Kangan Institute has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in automotive training and their partnership with Renault is an exciting one that will open up new training opportunities for young Victorians. The Academy expects to train more than 200 apprentices over the next five years.