Walsall College is leading the charge in electric vehicle expertise through the launch of a new training facility. The Light Electric and Alternative Fuel (LEAF) Vehicle Training Centre enhances the skills of experienced mechanics and technicians. It also boosts the job prospects of local people pursuing careers in green technologies and sustainability.
According to the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI), just 6.5% of the technicians working in garages and dealerships are appropriately qualified to safely maintain and service battery-powered cars. This is despite electric vehicle sales representing 23% of the new vehicle market in May.
The college’s workshops will help employers bridge the local skills gap. Using state-of the-art training vehicles, diagnostic equipment and tools, learners can gain IMI-credited qualifications in maintenance and repair and charging equipment.
Jatinder Sharma OBE, Principal and Chief Executive at the college said: “This unique facility brings the emergence of electric and hybrid vehicles full circle. Businesses now have the means to upskill their workforces, train new people and show their commitment to zero-emission motoring.
“It‘s also the lynchpin for an exciting collaboration between key education and industry partners; all of whom will help bring about further innovations in technology and sustainability; contributing to this sector’s future growth.”
Training opportunities for adults at Walsall College are funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) through its adult education budget.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “The West Midlands is the UK’s automotive heartland, and the shift to electrification will play a vital part in our region’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and help us to achieve our zero-carbon target by 2041. More than 21,000 jobs could be created in the West Midlands in new green industries across all our economic sectors over the next five years.
“But as well as securing the region’s Gigafactory and helping manufacturers make the switch to electric, we have to make sure local people have the right skills to take advantage of the jobs that will be created. This is even more critical right now with many people having lost their job or feeling uncertain about the future because of the Covid pandemic. Retraining and upskilling in green industries is a key part of my plan to create 100,000 new jobs in just two years.
“It is therefore brilliant news that Walsall College has developed this new vehicle training centre that will respond to employers’ needs and help get local people into good quality jobs.”
In partnership with e-learning vehicle and systems technologies provider, Electude, college staff and learners will also have full exposure to a variety of equipment and e-learning modules.
Catherine Treanor, UK Business Development Manager at Electude said: “We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Walsall College; an educational leader in automotive.
“Our e-learning and training vehicles will ensure students gain a greater understanding of the inner workings of vehicles, aided by interactive animations and simulations. Lecturers can better train their students in the classroom by monitoring results and teaching from a distance.
“We hope that our work together will showcase a fantastic college and the talented students within it.”
Find out more about electric/hybrid vehicle training courses here.