How to address the electric vehicle skills shortage?
Figures from the SMMT show that the UK saw a 34.8% increase in electric and hybrid vehicle registrations in 2017.
Aimed at meeting demand for technicians skilled in the assistance of Electric, Hybrid and PHEV vehicles at the roadside, Allianz Worldwide Partners, in partnership with the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI), is setting a new industry standard for training and awareness.
A total of 119,821 alternative fuel vehicles were registered in the UK in 2017, up from 88,881 in 2016, with the sector accounting for one in every 21 new cars.
Anticipating increased demand for highly qualified, specialist engineers, the Allianz Worldwide Partners network of dedicated manufacturer technicians, along with its fleet of Multi-Technicians, which support nine of the UK’s manufacturing automotive brands, are working to achieve a Level 4 accreditation in Electric, Hybrid and PHEV vehicles, with the IMI acting as the awarding body.
In addition, all roadside assistance operations staff at the Allianz Worldwide Partners headquarters receive technical awareness training, which includes Electric Vehicle, Hybrid and PHEV awareness module.
Mike Donley, Technical Training Manager at Allianz Worldwide Partners in the UK, commented: “The growth of the hybrid and electric vehicle market means the rescue and recovery industry need an understanding of the specific requirements for the safe handling of Electric and Hybrid vehicles. Whether it’s during transportation and recovery or minor repairs at the roadside, all technicians need to gain a clear overview of Electric and Hybrid vehicles and recognise the best practices and health and safety requirements for their job.
Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI added: “Our partnership with Allianz Worldwide Partners confirms our commitment to addressing a shortfall in skills in this burgeoning market. An estimated 1% of all technicians have been trained to work safely on the high-voltage technology, of which almost all of them work exclusively for manufacturers’ franchised dealers. Support to help those working in the service & repair sector, including the independent operators, is crucial.”
Skill requirements include identifying AC and DC voltages, as well as high voltage symbols, cabling and components, during maintenance and repair.
Following procedures is a key skill, along with safe working practices engaging with Electric, Hybrid and PHEV vehicles that require assistance and advising others when a vehicle is in a ‘safe condition’ to carry out maintenance or repair.