The Institute of the Motor Industry has made an impassioned plea for support to get enough EV vehicle technicians trained up to cope with the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicle sales.
It said that at the moment only five per cent of technicians in garages and dealerships were properly qualified to work on EVs and were dealing with some 380,000 plug-in cars and vans.
The institute, which develops benchmark training and qualifications for the automotive sector, says that without those skills, serious injury or death is a real prospect.
In an open letter to the government and the automotive industry – published below – institute president Jim Saker and chief executive Steve Nash say working on any vehicle that has an electric battery needs a different skill set to what’s needed when working on a petrol or diesel vehicle.
However, the chances of finding qualified technicians are reducing, despite manufacturers adapting their ranges and more people buying EVs.
The IMI said that around 6,500 certificates for working on EVs were issued in 2019.
Had the pandemic not struck and that rate continued, the minimum number of qualified technicians needed would quite well have been reached by 2030, it added.
However, certification numbers this year are down by 85 per cent versus the same period in 2019. As a result, the capacity isn’t there to support the transition that the government wants, it says.
Saker and Nash warn that unless the issue is discussed and addressed as a matter of urgency, the government’s ’10-Point Plan For A Green Industrial Revolution’ faces being compromised.
That means ‘the UK won’t meet its net zero targets and we’ll imperil our next generation’s future’.
They are calling for ‘a concerted, ongoing workforce development strategy’, and add: ‘Embattled employers need support and incentives to get more of their technicians trained and to reignite recruitment and apprenticeship plans.’
They want to see employers given tools and funding to develop fresh talent via apprenticeships.
‘Electric is the right choice – for the environment, for jobs, for our children’s futures. But like all revolutions, this one requires fuel. The fuel of skills.
‘We have a generation that’s wondering just where their future might lie,’ they write.