Trek Bicycle welcomed 11 mechanics to its first ever women’s Expert Technician Course at the company's global headquarters at Waterloo, Wisconsin. Trek had previously offered two others women's-focused mechanic classes, but this was the first top-level Expert Technician class that targeted women.
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“We’ve come to realize the alarmingly small percentage of female technicians working in independent bike distributor (IBD) service departments,” said Josh Borgmeyer, Trek Certified Service (TCS) education manager. “TCS saw a need for women’s-focused training as a way to provide a different learning environment than what’s typical in the service industry. Following completion of the course, these 11 women will play an integral part in making sure that every cyclist has a great product experience every time they ride.”
The Expert Technician course consists of six days of tuition at the new Trek Certified Service (TCS) training facility, including lectures by the TCS team and industry partners including SRAM, Shimano, RockShox, Bosch and Fox that cover subjects including mountain bike suspension and high-end road bike assembly, with hands-on instruction complementing the lectures and talks.
The Expert Technician role is historically a senior position. To qualify to attend the course, each of the 11 women had a minimum of three years' experience in a high-performing service department, and ideally prior formal training. The course concludes with written and practical exams, and upon successful completion the participants will leave with an Expert Technician certification.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to bring more women into the service profession, and Trek is making a great effort to bring professionalism into our business,” said Troy Laffey, technical ambassador and course instructor for SRAM. “Service really is the future of our industry, and I’m excited for the opportunity to play a role in this course.”
This is the third course Trek has offered for female mechanics in 2016, the others being Assembly Technician with a focus on training up staff new to the role, and Repair Technician, covering the essential and most common maintenance and repair requirements faced by bike shop workshops on a regular basis.
Trek provided the course for free to successful applicants, along with a $400 travel stipend.
"We've seen an overwhelming response to these," said Trek women's marketing manager Emily Bremer, adding that Trek would likely run the programme again in 2017.
Other bike companies are supporting the development of women's pro cycling and the growth in numbers of women participating in the sport, for example via the Bell JoyRide ambassador program and Canyon's sponsorship of the Canyon//SRAM race team. While there are grass-roots level programs that are supporting women in the male-dominated maintenance environment, such as the London Bike Kitchen and the Bristol Bike Project in the UK, this is the first time to the best of our knowledge that a big brand has embarked upon such an endeavour.