Research by The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has highlighted that the UK’s automotive retail sector does not currently have the skills and the pipeline of talent needed to service and repair electrified vehicles.
The Institute has asked the government to commit funding to support EV skills training. It is suggesting a £15 million boost would play a critical role, contributing towards training for up to 75,000 technicians.
According to the IMI, in the context of the £1.9 billion investment committed by government to support the transition to zero emission vehicles for charging infrastructure and consumer incentives, £15 million is a modest figure.
It would make a significant difference, particularly for the independent sector, which doesn’t have the training budgets of the manufacturer franchise network and faces being left behind. This could result in consumers having less choice, according to Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry.
“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,” he said. “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 data presented by the report shows that if more technicians aren’t trained, the issue will only become bigger by the day.
Based on a total technician workforce of 237,939, only 15,428 are registered on the IMI TechSafe Register (accredited to work on electric vehicles). It means that there are 15,428 technicians to work on an electric car and van population currently in excess of 380,000, which is estimated to grow to 12.7 million in the next decade.
In order to safely maintain that number of vehicles, more investments are needed as the UK will need around 75,000 technicians with the skills to work on EVs, according to Nash.
“The government wants the adoption of EVs to continue at a pace,” he said. “But 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.”