Jaguar Land Rover South Africa has once again recognised the top talent in its local dealer network. At the recent Dealer of the Year Awards the company awarded top honours – the Technician of the Year Award – to Thomas Grant, of Jaguar Land Rover Port Elizabeth. For his world-class performance and dedication to customer service Thomas walked home with a R270 000 cash prize.
Grant becomes the second winner of the prestigious competition, which is open to all technicians in the Jaguar Land Rover dealer network. In the months leading up to the Dealer of the Year Awards, technicians from around the country were able to participate in a series of online assessments to test their theoretical knowledge. From this the eight, top-scoring technicians were selected to attend the final round at the Jaguar Land Rover Training Academy, where all technicians receive training on an international syllabus. The first day of the two-day-long practical assessment, saw the field whittled down to three finalists. On the second day a more gruelling test saw only one winner being chosen.
With a substantial cash incentive, Grant remains humble about his milestone achievement insisting that his true motivation was to prove his knowledge and skills to himself and giving recognition to his peers at Jaguar Land Rover. He is able to state that he is the best in the business and says the money will be put to good use.
“This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. We have some great technicians in South Africa – I was quite surprised to find out that I had won,” says Grant. “I now want to take my wife on a well-deserved holiday and maybe consider financing a course at university, which I would otherwise not have afforded. This money will have a major effect on my life!”
Thomas started his career with Jaguar Land Rover 10 years ago, after being offered a place on the apprenticeship programme. “When I started in this field I was quite afraid of touching, never mind working on, electrical components. I thought you needed to be some kind of genius to understand them,” says Grant. His initial apprehension for working on premium vehicles with complex electronic systems soon subsided, thanks to the extensive training he received. This attitude of rising to the challenge is also how he placed first in the country at this year’s competition.
“After being disappointed in his placement at last year’s competition Thomas came to us asking what he did wrong, he wanted advice for how he could improve his skills,” says Rory Beattie, Customer Services Director of JLR SA and SSA. “His dedication to excellence is exactly the kind of attitude we look for, and it has helped take his career to the next level.”
Now, Grant’s training will be ramped up as he prepares to face off against technicians from around the globe at the Global Technician of the Year competition. “Thanks to the training we receive through the Jaguar Land Rover Training Academy I like to believe that now I am quite good at working on electrical components. And to represent our country on the international level is quite nerve-wracking,” comments Grant.
The Training Academy was originally established to address the skills shortage in the motor industry and train new technicians, thus ensuring that Jaguar and Land Rover customers receive world-class service. Technicians like Thomas are required to complete all excellence programmes in the curriculum, while maintaining their knowledge base and skillset with regular tests .
With an intensive focus on developing staff, Jaguar Land Rover customers are able to benefit from world-class service from award-winning technicians. The stringent certification process also incorporates real-world feedback from customers, ensuring that only the cream of the crop are certified as master technicians.
“The Technician of the Year programme has been incredibly successful. We now have two leading South African technicians, each of whom are on the same skill level as their international counterparts,” says Beattie. “These are indivuals dedicated to their craft and delivering excellence, it is inspiring to see this level of talent being fostered within our dealer network.”