FutureTech: Automotive Aftermarket Training That Keeps Pace With Advancing Technology
While manufacturers strive to meet government requirements for fuel economy and emissions reduction, a growing number of “advanced technology vehicles” include hybrid, electric, and fuel cell vehicles, which have swiftly altered the game for those working in the automotive service industry.
In support of an automotive landscape that is shifting toward electric propulsion systems, FutureTech offers a range of services and products that enable repair shops, rebuilders, fleets, educators, and others to adapt to these changes and offer better service within their industry — which begins with thorough training.
We spoke with Ariel Quarto, co-founder and executive vice president of marketing at FutureTech, to learn more about what her company does and how it provides comprehensive and flexible training in a technological environment that is rapidly changing.
FutureTech: Powered by Necessity, Driven by Family
Although FutureTech was established in 2015, Ariel’s family has a longstanding history within the automotive industry.
Ariel’s mother has incredible in-depth experience in manufacturing, distribution and automotive Tier 1. Her mother previously worked for an organization that’s primary focus was Hybrid Electric Vehicles engineering. Her mother was involved in the first Hybrids to exist in the US in the 1980s.
She told us that her father is the main supplier of FutureTech’s training and that much of what Ariel does involves translation, in a sense, whenever he discusses various concepts.
“A lot of what our marketing is,” she explained, “is actually translating what it is that we teach and why it’s important to the aftermarket and to automotive educators.”
Ariel creates all of the websites, marketing materials, email campaigns, social content, audio and video clips, and all of the things that explain what her company’s training is, why people need it, and why it is so relevant right now.
Although she doesn’t handle much of the curriculum development of FutureTech’s training, Ariel assists with most of the curriculum flow. This is central to the company’s mission and success.
She explained that those in the aftermarket seek training and need it to be delivered in a specific way, which may require a piece of equipment to get the job done.
“It’s my job to figure out how those things work together for a cohesive product,” Ariel said.
In addition to training, FutureTech also provides products that include BATTSCAN High Voltage Battery Analyzer, an app-based product that provides a state-of-health analysis for hybrid electric vehicle batteries.
Although FutureTech is moving in several different directions Ariel said that they tap into the key strengths of multiple suppliers and individual experts, rather than trying to bring everything in-house. This way their training, equipment, and support solutions stay fresh without having to incur growth-limiting overhead. We run lean to adapt with evolving technology.
Someone creates the content, another develops the relationships and massages that content for what they need, and Ariel makes sure that the platform does exactly what it needs to do.
How Training at FutureTech Fuels Industry Success
When it comes to training, FutureTech takes a blended approach that includes hands-on training in person, online training with a live instructor, and online training that is self-taught and self-led.
Ariel told us that on-demand training is housed on the company’s training website, where people can examine a course, purchase it, and take the training — doing it by themselves from start to finish.
Instructor-led online training courses are partially housed on FutureTech’s training website, although live instruction takes place through platforms like Zoom. All archives are later housed on the training website.
Hands-on training is offered as well, but online training generally takes place beforehand as a precursor and primer to get trainees ready, Ariel explained.
“What we’ve found is [that] online training is a good way to augment hands-on training and it’s also worthwhile as a standalone training option,” she told us.
FutureTech launched Access OnDemand training 2018 to meet industry demand by accommodating the need for greater flexibility in terms of scheduling, particularly to avoid removing people from the workplace for days at a time for extensive in-person training.
Access OnDemand courses were developed so people could do the training on their own time.
“People really enjoyed that aspect of it,” Ariel observed, noting that more and more people began taking training that way during the COVID-19 pandemic because they had no other choice.
She said although the training is necessary, there has been some resistance to online training (particularly in subject of Electrification) in the automotive aftermarket because hands-on training is the gold standard. Eventually they must get their hands dirty to fully grasp concepts. But necessity brings change, and with change comes evolving viewpoints and attitudes. The benefits of distance learning and self-paced instruction became more apparent as time passed during the pandemic, and people ended up enjoying it more than they thought. As the ongoing pandemic gave way to extended social distancing protocols, those who took the online training soon discovered how much they actually enjoyed it.
“Now that we’re sort of coming out of that, people are finding that it’s a really good way to prime yourself for hands-on training,” Ariel said.
Priming through online training is important for not just education in general, but for improving knowledge retention and maximizing lesser time spent during in-person training courses.
“People are doing just as well with less time in the classroom,” she said.“There are certain concepts that don’t necessarily need a hands-on aspect,” Ariel noted, adding that time spent learning online can shorten what’s needed in person.
“Which means less money spent, less time spent, especially for people who own automotive shops,” Ariel said.
FutureTech is Looking Toward the Future
When we spoke with Ariel, she told us that FutureTech is planning to enhance its training program even further.
“We are getting quite a bit of attention for our content from some larger industry players,” Ariel explained, adding that they’re trying to implement elements of FutureTech’s content into their own educational programs. The program that is gaining a lot of traction is the Electrified Transportation Pro Plus program. It is standards-based training that supports a certification in Electrification – the first one of its kind in the industry. FutureTech is one of the partners in the program, as a supplier of training. Other partners provide augmented learning, automotive instructor toolkits, and certification authentication to those who go through the program. The program can be integrated into the existing programs of both large and small organizations (or schools) – which is why it is getting attention.
“Our content is great, but it’s not quite as flexible as we would like it to be,” she said.
To that end, FutureTech wants to add functionality for the customization of landing pages, training classes, and prerequisites, along with the integration of additional content that complements FutureTech’s offerings.
The company intends to upgrade its training platform and programs for a more robust user experience.
Additionally, FutureTech is now a part of a national training certification program that supports standardized training for electrification.
Their current online training portal meets the requirements for the program, but we want to scale up to a platform where participants’ information from all aspects of the program can be securely stored and easily retrieved. This will help as the program grows and individuals are completing multiple levels of the program, and they may need records of their training, testing, and completion. Recertification is required every five years, and we want to provide them long-term support on their journey.
As the company seeks to enhance its training, FutureTech remains steadfast in its goal to ensure that it consistently meets and exceeds the demands of an automobile service industry that must adapt to ever-changing technological advancements.
Serving automotive repair shops and rebuilders, fleets and fleet management organizations, and automotive OEMs and aftermarket distribution networks, FutureTech provides scalable solutions in electrified vehicle diagnostics and repair. Established in 2015, FutureTech strives to meet the changing demands of automotive service professionals across the country as they adapt to a changing market for vehicles powered by advanced technology.
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