Representatives the automotive sector has called on the Government to invest £15m to support EV skills training.

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has said that the automotive retail sector does not currently have the skills and the pipeline of talent needed to service and repair electrified vehicles to keep the nation moving safely.

The IMI calculated that a £15m boost would contribute towards training for up to 75,000 technicians.

‘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,’ said Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI.

‘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.’

At December 2020, 6.5% of UK automotive workforce are 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 works out as 15,428 technicians to work on an electric car and van population currently in excess of 380,000.

It is estimated that the electric vehicle population will accelerate to 10.6 million in the next decade – in order to safely maintain that number of vehicles, the UK will need around 75,000 technicians with the skills to work on EVs.

‘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,’ added Mr Nash.

‘Without those skills, serious injury or death is a very real prospect. And we’ve got just over eight years to have a sector that is EV-ready.’