Hino trucks has, over the years, organised many training courses for dealer personnel, but the latest Hino Learnership Programme (HLP) – a structured, nine-month learnership for sales executives – has proved the most successful yet.

The culmination of the intensive, block-learning course was a graduation ceremony held in the Colin Adcock Museum at Toyota SA’s head office in Sandton, which saw 10 well-trained truck sales executives presented with certificates of attendance. These will be complemented by Merseta National Qualifications Framework (NQF) 4 certification early in 2018. The successful learners are now able to obtain diplomas and even a degree through further study with various institutions.

“I started working on the vision for this comprehensive training initiative two years ago,” explained Hino SA Vice President Ernie Trautmann. “I am more than delighted with the outcome and am looking forward to meeting the next group of learners when we start the 2018 HLP in February.”

The course was developed by lecturer Philip Brandt, who has a background in in fleet management, in conjunction with a specialist training consultancy. The objective of the HLP is to enable the learners to recommend the correct truck for a specific application, while also knowing how to calculate a finance package that will suit the customer’s business model.

Motor industry consultant and trainer, Annette Erasmus, who was deeply involved in this programme said that it was important for the ongoing personal growth of these learners that they continued to be mentored and coached by senior colleagues in their dealerships to ensure they benefited fully from the HLP initiative.

Nem Singh, the Vice President of Human Resources, and Training at Toyota SA Motors (TSAM) said the success of this training course was a tribute to outstanding teamwork between Hino SA, the Hino dealers involved, the Toyota Academy of Learning for Africa and the specialist training consultancy, TTBS.

Trautmann says he was impressed by the one-word description of the HLP by the delegates, which were: Empowered, Fantastic; Amazing; Enriching; Challenging; Insightful; Extraordinary, Career-changing; Informative and Life-changing.

The one-sentence descriptions of what HLP had brought to the lives of the learners were also very positive and stressed the way the course had changed the learners’ perception of the truck industry and of themselves, while providing a much broader knowledge base and improving self-confidence.

The Top Student Award for the 2017 HLP course went to Larissa Snyman, of Hino Oranje in Bloemfontein, who says she loves the fact that Hino believes in putting the customer first and strives to be the best truck brand in the country. Larissa, who started her working career as an estate agent, also won the award as the Most Engaged Learner for constantly coming up with suggestions to provide a better customer experience.

The Out of the Box Award for the person who showed a unique personality which kept the group going during the long days of classwork and who perceived things with a different view, went to Given Jones, of Hino Mbombela.

James Sibutha, of Hino Honeydew, won the Networker Award as the person who made the most effort to get to know the other delegates so as to keep in touch for future knowledge sharing.

Andzani Baloyi, of Hino Isando, was adjudged the learner who displayed most personal growth over the period of the HLP as an individual as well as the initiative shown in completing portfolio tasks. He was presented with the Noted Progression Award.

Shaun Neethling, of Hino Indongo, who started his own business using his parents’ truck, before joining Hino Indongo in 2014, won the Most Enthusiastic Award for showing the most enthusiasm, energy, and passion towards the HLP.

Trautmann concluded the evening function by saying that the specialised training of dealer sales executives was one of the keys to Hino’s Vision 2020, which aims to see Hino as the to-selling truck brand in South Africa after 2020.

“These people are integral in our quest for brand leadership,” explained the Hino SA Vice President. “A recent survey of our sales force revealed that 31 per cent of them are over 50 years of age and are responsible for 41 per cent of our sales, so ongoing renewal in our sales teams is vital for future growth.”