The UK’s Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), which is created to establish new skills and benchmarks for the automotive sector, has issued a warning about the electric vehicle industry. While EVs are becoming more prevalent, the number of technicians who are trained to work on electric cars safely is dropping.
As per the IMI’s data, a mere 18% of the UK’s total technicians, or about 42,400 individuals, received training for electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2023. Surprisingly, the number of newly qualified EV technicians actually dipped by 10% compared to the figures from 2022. The IMI is also projecting a staggering 31% drop in securing an EV qualification during the second quarter when compared to the same period last year.
The organization noted there are some factors that could be contributing to the shortfall. As the average age of the vehicle parc increases, technicians working on combustion-powered vehicles also tend to experience a rise in the time required for their tasks. This effectively reduces the available time for retraining on electric vehicles.
The widening skills gap in the industry is compelling employers to postpone new skills training in order to address customer demand effectively as well. Because of this, training budgets are typically reallocated towards sustaining regular operations amid the prevailing economic pressures faced by employers, as noted in a Car Dealer Magazine UK report.
IMI CEO Steve Nash issued a statement about the matter. “The high level of job vacancies across the automotive sector as well as the economic pressures that mean budgets are being funnelled away from training are a serious cause for concern if the government’s decarbonization targets are to be met.
“More electric and hybrid vehicles are joining the UK car parc every day, but the number of technicians trained to safely maintain, service and repair them is simply not keeping pace, creating a real postcode lottery. Urgent attention is required to address the skills gap, enhance training initiatives and ensure an adequate supply of qualified technicians to meet the evolving demands of the rapidly growing EV sector,” the CEO noted.
Overall, the IMI noted that the current situation could be “hugely damaging to the government’s decarbonization ambitions.” The IMI also estimated that by 2030, about 107,000 IMI TechSafe-qualified technicians would be needed to meet the demands of electric cars. By 2032, the figure is projected to rise to 139,000, which suggests a shortfall of about 25,000 technicians if current trends continue.
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