By Stephen Macharia
AA Kenya recently hosted over 20 road patrol officials from seven African countries during the 2nd The African Council of Touring and Automobile (ACTA) Clubs Training for Excellence.
Held in Nairobi from November 8th to 10th, 2023, and supported by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the event aimed to elevate the expertise of road patrol teams, fostering a universally high standard of roadside assistance services.
The three-day training, attended by representatives from Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Uganda, and Mozambique, featured sessions on identifying and resolving technical failures, customer service, and the safe towing of vehicles. Notably, this year’s focus included handling electric vehicles, reflecting the dynamic evolution of the automotive.
Martina Di Pasquale, FIA’s Membership and Events Officer, emphasized the necessity of such training, citing over a decade of successful initiatives in Europe. “We bring trainers from Europe for training in Africa. We train them on best international practices, including customer service,” Martina explained.
The collaboration between AA Kenya and FIA extended beyond the classroom, encompassing practical exposure to vehicles from various brands under contract with ARC Europe.
Participants delved into common breakdown causes, specific repair information, and emerging car technologies, enhancing their capabilities to address diverse challenges in the field.
A significant highlight of the training was the assessment sessions, culminating in the recognition of the “Road Patrol Team of the Year.” This accolade, awarded to the team with the highest scores, underscores the commitment to excellence by the participating road patrol officers.
Simon Modisaemang, ACTA President, lauded AA Kenya for hosting a successful training event, noting the increased scope compared to the previous year. “This gives African road patrol officers a platform to exchange ideas and learn from best practices in other regions, including Europe,” Simon remarked.
While the event did not involve direct training by FIA officials, experts from motoring clubs in Austria, Netherlands, and South Africa delivered the sessions. This knowledge transfer, spanning customer service, electric vehicles, and safe towing techniques, equips AA Kenya’s road rescue officers with best international practices, instilling confidence in AA members.
Simon emphasized the necessity for African motoring clubs to stay ahead of the curve as electric vehicles become more prevalent in the market.
The training serves as a strategic initiative, ensuring that road patrol officers possess the skills and technical knowledge required to handle the evolving landscape of the automotive industry.
With plans to make this training an annual event and the intent to incorporate more clubs from Namibia and Nigeria, AA Kenya, in collaboration with FIA, is spearheading a transformative effort to enhance the capabilities of road patrol officers and set a new benchmark for roadside assistance services across the African continent.