Leading Edge Group (LEG) is taking reseller training into its own hands, launching a new academy to provide education for its members.
The national buying group's CEO, Keith Lane, said the program, dubbed Leading Edge Retail Academy, would aim to improve reseller business practices and sales.
Initial courses would concentrate on improving staff training and customer service, he said. The Academy would then be expanded to cover business-related education on issues like marketing, human resources, store management and financial procedures.
"We want to go further by getting into store management courses, and every aspect of the reseller business," he said.
"Our program will cover the whole gambit."
The Academy is headed up by Leading Edge Telecoms founder, Keith Rowe. It will be rolled out across all of the group's vertical divisions including computers, telecoms, electronics and music.
"We're looking to train reseller staff to deliver a better level of performance," Rowe said.
"But, more importantly, it gives managers more time to work on their business. And we will expand with them on gaining those business skills."
LEG has partnered with government accredited trainer, Applied Training Solutions (ATS), to deliver the courses. Lane said it would target the majority of its member stores, many of which are located in regional areas across Australia. The hands-on training sessions would be supplemented by e-learning modules, Lane said.
Those participating would undergo exams, with passes rewarded with certifications and a diploma.
Lane said LEG had already received 200 expressions of interest in the program, many of which had come from its computer group.
He said the initial focus would be on getting computer and electronic stores, followed by telecoms and the remaining verticals.
The courses start next month, with sessions planned in four NSW clusters: Wollongong; Central West region (Bathurst to Dubbo); the Hunter Valley; and Sydney metro.
LEG is now devising course content for the first training sessions. Lane said general managers across all of its divisions would be contributing.
"We're going to build on what we do at our annual conference in terms of bringing in trainers and speakers from our vendors and suppliers - but now these will be available to resellers all year round," he said.
"This is only the start. We're building up our capacity to offer merchandise training and store relays. There's a huge opportunity."
One of the benefits of recruiting ATS for its staff training component was that attendees would be eligible for sponsorship under the Australian Government's Quality Training Framework, Rowe said.
Leading Edge Computers Mildura store manager, Nick Cavallo, said the Academy was another way members would be able to differentiate themselves from the reseller pack by developing both technical and sales skills.
"I think it's a fantastic idea," he said.
"It will help us to continue to develop ourselves and our staff in all aspects of the business. Our point of different as Leading Edge resellers is that we service what we sell.
"It's an integral part of what we do. This [program] will help us to raise the bar."