Dixons Carphone has launched a “state of the art” customer service training centre as it seeks to deliver its mission to “help everyone enjoy amazing technology”.

Dixons Carphone, owner of Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse, opens the doors to a new learning and development centre at the famous Fort Dunlop building in Birmingham today.

The electricals and mobile phones retail giant said the £4m investment would enable it to double the number of hours of training for new colleagues, allowing them to bring to life for customers the benefits of new technology.

More than 6,000 Dixons Carphone staff annually will go through Fort Dunlop, where an additional 400,000 hours of training will be provided.

Dixons Carphone’s scheme, called the Academy@Fort Dunlop, will share the retailer’s vision and strategy, and equip staff “with the skills to give first-class customer service and help customers choose, afford and enjoy the right products for them”.

There will also be programmes for managers to help them “support colleagues’ continued learning in stores” and suppliers will demonstrate new products. The 19,000 sq ft academy includes four mock-up stores, eight training rooms and 22 supplier zones.

The initiative is core to Dixons Carphone’s strategy, unveiled last year, to invest in customer-facing colleagues. Staff were also awarded shares worth £1,000 in recognition of the vital role they play.

Dixons Carphone chief people officer Paula Coughlan said: “Capable and committed colleagues are our greatest advantage. We want Dixons Carphone to continue to be a magnet for great talent and we are investing more than ever before in giving our colleagues the tools and skills to put our customers first from their first day in-store.

“The Academy@Fort Dunlop is about giving our colleagues the best possible start to their careers with us.”

West Midlands mayor and former managing director of the John Lewis department store business Andy Street said: “I am delighted that Dixons Carphone has chosen the West Midlands for investment and I look forward to working with them.

“Retail is an important driver of the economy in the West Midlands and the UK, so I am especially pleased that The Academy@Fort Dunlop will train the next generation of retail workers, equipping them with the skills and confidence they need to help drive the retail sector forward.”

Fort Dunlop is a landmark West Midlands building. It was originally built for Dunlop Rubber, and was at one time the biggest factory in the world.

It has since been redeveloped as a “vertical office park”, with shops and leisure facilities on the ground floor.