Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

Drop in the number of qualified EV technicians

There has been a drop in the number of technicians who are qualified to work on electric vehicles, according to the latest IMI EV Technician Forecast Report coming from the UK.

It states that the total number of technicians trained to work safely on EV by the end of Q1 2023 was 42,400, representing 18 per cent of all technicians in the UK.

However, the number of newly qualified EV technicians there in the first three months of this year is actually 10 per cent lower than the same period in 2022.

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) also forecasts that for the second quarter there will be an even more substantial decline of 31 per cent in technicians obtaining EV qualifications compared to Q2 2022.

Here in Ireland, efforts have been made to increase the number of qualified EV technicians in order to reduce the amount of electric vehicles being sent abroad for repair. For example, Harris Group last year opened an academy in Dublin dedicated to the training of electric vehicle technicians.

However, finding EV-qualified technicians in the UK – including Northern Ireland – has been described as a “postcode lottery”, and the IMI believes that as the average age of the UK vehicle parc increases, the time required by technicians working on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles also rises, reducing available time for retraining on the new drivetrain.

It adds that the significant skills gap that exists across the sector is also forcing employers to ‘park’ new skills training in order to meet customer demand. Plus, training budgets are being refunnelled into ‘business-as-usual’ operations as employers manage the current economic pressures.

“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 decarbonisation targets are to be met,” commented Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry.

“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.”