Scaling New Heights in Training - Lookers
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Scaling New Heights in Training​

Rob in diagnostic mode using Audi technology.

When it comes to preparation Rob Ostler has it covered. Heading up the Technical Immersion Programme for the South of the UK, busy Rob takes some time out and talks about his role, what ‘lights’ up his day and he also shares his ethos on what it takes to achieve a successful training outcome.

But first of all, where did it all start?

Back in 1999 (the same year incidentally that Audi released the TT Roadster) Rob left school at 16 and attended a local automotive college. The course of his working life was determined when one day: “My name was randomly picked out of a hat, and I was sent to join Whites Audi based in Camberley. At the time this was a small family owned business with only 6 technicians and a limited range of equipment and machinery.” Nonetheless Rob was delighted to be there and felt he was “lucky to fall into Audi”, through his time with Whites.

During his time with the family owned business Rob went on to successfully complete his apprenticeship. Through a process of classroom based and practical training – some of it at the state-of-the-art National Learning Centre in Milton Keynes - he tackled head on the challenging and rigorous 3 year schedule required to become an Audi technician.

From there he never looked back. As regularly happens in the automotive industry, a series of takeovers saw him change employer. Whites were taken over by Colbornes who made “made major investments in machinery and ramps” which improved not only the working environment but also contributed toward the growth of the business. It was this success which attracted Lookers who saw further potential and acquired Colbornes in 2014.

As Rob’s own career accelerated, so too did the Audi brand.

Illuminating the Future

Throughout the noughties a slew of innovations and designs were introduced. From the release of the A6 in 2000 to the inaugural diesel TT engine and a move toward enhanced Co2 engines, Audi technology dominated the market.

And it was during this period that Rob became interested in Audi lighting technology. “The Audi lighting fascinates me because it totally encapsulates the advanced technology that is put into Audi vehicles. The design, style and efficiency all define for me the slogan of “Vorsprung Durch Technik.” Until you have fully experienced the benefits of say a Matrix beam headlamp in action you have no idea how incredible it is… always know when an Audi is coming up behind you.”

Immersed in Training

In December 2010 Rob was given the opportunity to move to Basingstoke Audi and take up the role of Master Technician as part of his training to become a qualified Master Technician.

With Robs experience, talent and passion for the brand it was a natural fit for him to head up the Immersion Programme for the South. Launched last year it has been rolled out across all Lookers Audi dealerships with the aim of revolutionising the recruitment and training environment for the next generation of qualified technical specialists.

Paul Sames, Lookers Brand Director for Audi South, who selected Rob for this key role, said: “Rob was the obvious choice for such an important initiative, he has worked in all areas of Aftersales over a number of years within the Audi brand, most recently as a dynamic Master Technician. As well as Robs’s ongoing technical development, to enable him to deliver this programme effectively, we provided a Train the Trainer programme to enhance his training and coaching skills. Rob is a great example and role model for growing our own talent, and utilising the skills and knowledge that we already have within our business to bring on the next generation of Audi technician. Ongoing investment in our technicians is essential to our growth and success.”

The key to Success

Incredibly Rob also manages to fit in time for the other passion in his life – outdoor sports. From rock climbing, snowboarding and marathon running, this dedicated dad of one, lives life to the full. Drawing inspiration from the legendary Jack Daniels (no, not that one), this famous Olympic coach has outlined some key principles which Rob adopts at work and at play. These include:

  1. Focus on positivity expect ups and down
  2. Be flexible & expect the unexpected
  3. Set intermediate goals
  4. Training should be rewarding

These guiding principles should come in very handy as Rob predicts that immersion training has the potential to roll out across the business. “It’s the future for a successful modern retailing environment” concludes Rob.

Robs Career highlights

• Youngest R8 Technician in the country

• Accelerated entry to R8 accreditation licence

• Achieved Master Technician level by the age of 28

• Helped to develop the Direct Reception concept which allows customers to transparently see their car being serviced

• Early testing of Audi Cam

• Audi Division Technician of the Year 2015

• Lookers Guild Award finalist

• And of course….Immersion Training!

By Tracey McBain