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VW Group invests in new Aussie training facility

Charged up: The Essendon Fields complex will be central to Porsche’s electric ambitions in Australia.

VW, Skoda, Audi, Porsche to base training operations at central site in Melbourne

15 May 2020

VOLKSWAGEN Group has taken the unusual step of centralising its southern state training facilities, basing its four Australian-market brands in a new multimillion-dollar complex under construction at Melbourne’s Essendon Fields automotive hub.


Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi and Skoda staff, managers, technicians and apprentices will be trained at the purpose-built facility that covers 2500 square metres. Porsche’s footprint is 837 square metres.


The two buildings are primarily for training purposes but will double as the Victorian state regional office for Volkswagen and Audi and be the state base for the Volkswagen Financial Services Australia.


Although all part of the Volkswagen Group, Volkswagen and Skoda are managed separately in Australia from both Audi and Porsche, which run their own operations.


The combined facility will cover 2774 square metres and have 80 parking spaces.


Practical completion is scheduled for late October with operational commencement in January 2021.


Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) said 2000 staff and dealer representatives would use the facility each year and that the new building would double its training capacity by dovetailing with the existing centre at the car-maker’s headquarters in the Sydney suburb of Chullora.


VGA director of customer experience and marketing, Jason Bradshaw, said his company remains a key trainer and committed employer of young Australians despite concern about impending skills shortage and the drastic reduction in apprentice jobs since the advent of COVID-19.


He claimed that “Volkswagen Group has long been at the forefront of automotive training” and that  “our technicians are an elite, the most sought-after in this industry”.


“That demand will increase as Volkswagen Group begins introducing electric vehicles at every price point. These brands will be at the forefront of EVs,” he said.


Porsche Cars Australia managing director and CEO Sam Curtis said one of the first programs to be held at the new centre will be training in preparation for the Australian launch of Porsche’s first all-electric sportscar, the Taycan. This model is due in the fourth quarter of this year.


“The new Porsche Training Centre at Essendon Fields will ensure that staff from our Porsche Centres across Australia have access to the best possible training programs,” he said.


“The opening of this new training facility will coincide with the launch of programs that will prepare our sales staff and service technicians for the arrival of the new Porsche Taycan.


“This facility will ensure our people are exceptionally well prepared for this exciting milestone.


“Our training department already offers an exceptional learning experience. This new centre will give them the facility and resources to further enhance our training programs, and, in turn, the level of expertise in all of our Porsche Centres.”


Mr Bradshaw said Essendon Fields was one of a number of sites considered for the training facility.


He said VGA was impressed with Essendon Fields’ experience in delivering automotive projects, with the 30-hectare auto precinct already home to more than 38,000 square metres of automotive retail showrooms, workshops and pre-delivery facilities.

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