TOC RAISES THE BAR WITH AUTOBACS INVESTMENT
AUTOBACS Seven Co Ltd, Japan’s largest specialty retailer of goods and services for cars, has acquired an eight per cent stake in TOC Automotive College.
“We are truly excited to be embarking on this partnership with a renowned international brand. Autobac’s solid background and proven track record set the bar even higher for us to churn out only the best automotive technicians,” said TOC founder and chief executive officer Adelaine Foo in an interview.
She said some 2,000 technicians graduated from TOC since it began operations in 2004. Currently, there are about 800 students from 40 countries in TOC.
“We have an average of 300 new enrolments yearly for our courses that have a duration of 15 months to 2Ω years. The courses include Certificate in Automotive Technology, Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia Level 2 and Level 3, Diploma in Motorsport Technology and Diploma in Automotive Technology.”
With this new partnership, Foo is targeting to increase student enrolment to 500 this year.
“Currently, we have two motorsports teams that have opened their doors to TOC students to help them gain experience. The students get hands-on experience on track when the teams have races or are trained by team technicians who occasionally come to the college.
“The two teams are Caterham Motorsport and Aylezo Sdn Bhd. With this partnership, the doors for Super GT teams are open as well.”
Foo said graduates from TOC would now have the opportunity to work in Autobacs Group, where they would be exposed to the latest trends in the motoring world and the aftersales ser vice segment of the automotive industry.
“We are in talks with Autobacs regarding an internship programme. Of course, there will be a target for the students to meet in order to qualify for the internship, whether in Autobacs Malaysia, Singapore or Japan.
“Top students who are able to communicate in Japanese stand a chance to work in Japan. For the time being, Autobacs will train our teachers and probably later, they will send someone to train our students as well.”
She added that there was always a gap between what a graduate’s skills and the employer’s expectations.
“With this technical and knowledge exchange collaboration, we will strive to bridge the gap between the technical and skills expectations of the industry and academia.”
Foo said college planned to expand the TOC brand.
“We want to spread the brand in Southeast Asia. We target to expand to one country a year. At the moment, we plan to launch TOC Myanmar in the third quarter of this year,” she added.
Autobacs director Yugo Horii is also keen on the expansion plan.
“Autobacs plans to grow its overseas market, especially in Asia, and Southeast Asia falls under the company’s strategy,” said Horii.
Autobacs has five retail shops in Malaysia and two of them do maintenance and servicing.
Horii said the stake acquisition was part of Autobacs’s growth strategy in the region.
“We share a common ground with Foo’s vision and management philosophy. We look forward to recruiting more qualified technicians. Furthermore, we would like to contribute to the local community in Malaysia for safer and more comfortable driving,” he said.
TOC Automotive College founder and chief executive officer Adelaine Foo (left) and Autobacs Seven Co Ltd Autobacs director Yugo Horii.
TOC Automotive College students at work.