Walsall College has launched a new electric vehicle training centre to enhance the skills of mechanics and technicians and help local people gain jobs 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.
The college’s Light Electric and Alternative Fuel (LEAF) Vehicle Training Centre 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.
L-R Students Bhupinder Johal and Marcus Alarcon are pictured at the launch with Walsall College principal Jatinder Sharma and Catherine Treanor of Electude
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, 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.”
Jatinder Sharma, 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.”
In partnership with e-learning vehicle and systems technologies provider Electude, college staff and learners will also have full exposure to a variety of plug-in, diagnostic tools and equipment.
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.”