Institute calls for £15m funding boost to get more technicians EV-ready

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has called on Government to commit £15 million in funding to support EV skills training for technicians.

The IMI states that the automotive retail sector does not currently have the skills and the pipeline of talent needed to service and repair electrified vehicles.

According to its data, only 6.5% of the UK automotive workforce is qualified to work on electric vehicles – based on a total technician workforce of 237,939 of which 15,428 are registered on the IMI TechSafe Register (accredited to work on electric vehicles). That’s 15,428 technicians to work on an electric car and van population currently in excess of 380,000.

The data adds that it is estimated that the electric vehicle population will accelerate to 12.7 million in the next decade. Therefore, the IMI claims that in order to safely maintain that number of vehicles, the UK will need around 75,000 technicians with the skills to work on EVs.

Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry, believes that the £15 million funding request is a modest figure compared to the £1.9bn investment committed by Government in the 2020 Spending Review to supporting the transition to zero-emission vehicles for charging infrastructure and consumer incentives.

He said: “There’s no getting away from the fact that there are still some big hurdles to overcome to meet the government’s 2030 deadline for the ban of the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles.

“With just 6.5% of the automotive workforce currently qualified to work on electric vehicles there is a gaping chasm in the availability of technicians. And that chasm not only presents a safety threat for those who may risk working on high voltage vehicle systems without appropriate training and qualifications; it also means the premium on skills could add to costs for motorists, creating another, unnecessary deterrent to the switch to EV.

“The Government has committed £1.9bn to tackling consumer uptake and charging issues. We are asking that £15m is set aside for employers to access to support their own investment in skills training to get their workforce EV-ready. This will be particularly important for the independent sector.”

Further research added that the automotive industry in early 2021 highlighted that 92% of respondents believe it is extremely or very important to invest in EV training for meeting the challenge of the 2030 deadline.

Nash added: “Working on any form of electrified vehicle requires a completely different set of skills to those needed to work on a petrol or diesel vehicle. Without those skills, serious injury or death is a very real prospect. And we’ve got just over 8 years to have a sector that is EV-ready.

“The Government wants the adoption of EV to continue at a pace – the investment in EV charging needs to be matched by an investment in EV skills training to help employers ensure the workforce is EV-ready and electrified motoring doesn’t come at a premium.”

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