Vehicle technicians not trained to service electric vehicles could be putting themselves at risk, warns Autotech Recruit, as the gap between the number of electric vehicles entering the market, and technicians fully trained to service them, widens.
As a recruitment agency specialising in placing temporary MOT testers and vehicle technicians into garages and workshops across the UK, Autotech Recruit has witnessed a rise in demand for temporary technicians trained in electric vehicles.
“Over the last 12 months alone, demand for EV trained technicians has risen significantly.” Explains Autotech Recruit MD Gavin White. “However, this increase is largely unsurprising when you see the jump in numbers of electric and hybrid vehicles on the road today.”
While electric vehicles still only represent around 2% of total light-duty vehicles on the road, sales in the last five years have risen by 97% with 200,000 vehicles expected on the road by the end of this year. Factor in the news that Oxford are set to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles from its city centre by 2030, with many more likely to follow suit, and it is now unquestionable that garages will soon begin to fill with electric vehicles needing servicing and repairs.
However, while manufacturers of electric vehicles are beginning to push the dealerships to send their technicians on relevant electric vehicle training courses, many independent garages are either shying away from servicing these types of vehicles or bringing in temporary technicians who can.
Gavin continues: “It’s only a matter of time before somebody, without the right knowledge, puts a spanner in a high voltage area. Therefore we,as an industry, have a duty of care to not only ensure the safety of our vehicle technicians through training, but that our independent garages are fully proficient to deal with the inevitable influx.”
While there is sufficient training available, it isn’t regulated by the Government. This lack of enforcement means that independent garages, who are already feeling increased pressure with high workloads and lack of skilled technicians, are largely unwilling to send their employees on training courses for even a day due to the loss of revenue through empty bays.
This lack of investment, of both money and time, could be short-sighted, as they will end up turning away potential business in the future. With more and more manufacturers pledging to go all electric, and, through increased pressure from several bodies, the possibility of electric vehicle training becoming regulated in the future, it is vital that independent garages upskill their technicians, so they are prepared.
“The role of the vehicle technician will change dramatically over the next two decades.”Gavin concludes, “and the only way the current workforce can sustain their roles is to train.”
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