New Straits Times - - Cars Bikes & Trucks -

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.

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