Automotive manufacturer launches global academy to support growth

Automotive manufacturer TMD Friction is bringing together employees from facilities around the world, including its Hartlepool plant, after launching a global learning and development academy.

The International Training Network has been created to support the company’s worldwide growth and encourage the sharing of best practice between staff.

Historically the TMD Friction Group would host international training seminars at facilities on a rotation basis, ensuring employees had the opportunity to visit sites other than their own each year to learn more about the processes and procedures that are in place.

But since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the chance to travel overseas has been very limited so the company decided to review how it fulfilled its learning and development agenda moving forward.

Dan Matthews, Learning and Development Manager at TMD Friction at Hartlepool, has played a key role in rolling out the global training academy in the UK.

Dan said: “The group already had a system in place called TMD Professional, which we used for international team building sessions, networking, and training courses. However, these were conducted in person and involved travelling to different plants around the world.

“When the Covid pandemic started, international travel was impossible so our Global Vice President for HR, based in Germany, decided to review how we delivered such sessions when we could no longer get together face to face.

“That was where the idea for the global learning and development academy came from, which would be an online forum where staff from plants in countries including Russia, China, Brazil, France, Germany of course here in Hartlepool, would come together to group training sessions.

“It’s been such a good thing for everyone within the business. So far myself and the staff from Hartlepool have taken part in seminars in areas including project management, objective setting, meeting management and remote leadership – this one in particular was very interesting, given the current climate.”

TMD Friction is a global manufacturer of brake pads, with the Hartlepool plant producing pads for 95 per cent of the models for Europe’s aftermarket, including emergency services vehicles and many of the major distribution small trucks and vans.

Learning and development is a priority area for the business, as the company looks to maintain its year-on-year growth and support the development of its staff at all levels within the business.

Dan added: “Our aim now is to get as many of our staff involved as possible, as this network can benefit every employee within the business.

“The management team knows that people are the key the company’s future success and by attracting and retaining talented personnel, we can continue to achieve the ambitious targets which the company set each year.

“A key element of that is investing in personal development, which is exactly what the network has been set up to support.”

TMD Friction, which has its only UK production facility in Hartlepool, has been making parts for the passenger car aftermarket since 1974 and now employs 449 people in the North East.