High voltage skills gap: Only 1% of technicians qualified to work safely on hybrid & electric vehicles

The lower emission revolution

Automotive manufacturers have been busy expanding their portfolios of electric and hybrid vehicles recently. Rates of adoption are creeping up as charging infrastructure is expanded and batteries become cheaper, making lower emission vehicles more affordable and more accessible to a broader audience.

Indeed, plans are afoot in many countries to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles altogether. In Britain and France sales of new petrol and diesel cars are set to be phased out by 2040, with calls from some MPs to accelerate the pace of change. Indeed, the Scottish Government has announced a deadline of 2032. Some of the world’s largest economies, including China and India, are also considering the move.

As a consequence, the International Energy Agency predicts that global electric car stock may range between 9 and 20 million by 2020 and between 40 and 70 million by 2025 - if current government policies remain in place. The skill sets of those employed to sell, maintain and service these vehicles must surely be growing at a proportionate rate?

 

What’s the health and safety issue? 

On the contrary, a high voltage skills gap is already emerging, particularly in independent dealerships and garages. According to industry body the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), only 1% of accredited service and repair technicians are properly qualified to work safely on the high voltage systems within hybrid and electric vehicles.

The vast majority of those who do have the correct training are employed in manufacturers’ franchised dealerships, some of whom have turned to the IMI’s own qualifications and accreditations. With as many as 63% of garages reporting skill gaps relating to specialist technical areas, most commonly hybrid or electric vehicle technology (46%), the need for more widespread and accessible health and safety training is apparent.

Clearly there is a present and immediate risk to untrained people working on the high voltage systems used to power electric and hybrid vehicles, which are not explicitly covered in current health and safety regulations in the UK.

When technicians are lacking the necessary training, it’s potentially dangerous for them to work on these vehicles. Accidents and even fatalities are liable to increase, presenting a risk to businesses, individuals and consumers if the issue is not addressed.

 

How can Redware’s Empowered LMS help?

To keep health and safety front of mind - where it should be - the right training is essential. This means making sure up-to-date learning content is available and that it’s delivered in an engaging way to the people who need it, at the time when they need it.

Dealerships and supply chain partners require the most up-to-date training available on new vehicle technologies for their staff to work safely and competently. Manufacturers will also have to consider the implications of new technologies for their wider extended enterprise and network when working on new products.

Redware’s Empowered Learning Management System (LMS) allows you to control your content and track the progress of learners so you can be sure you are compliant with existing regulations and stay up to date with new ones as they are developed.

Empowered delivers timely, point of need training through a combination of blended learning, eLearning and mobile delivery. It is a flexible solution that is able to reach learners, from technicians to supply chain employees, quickly and without requiring lengthy stretches out of the workplace. This ensures staff are supported every step of the way in learning the new skills they need to tackle new propulsion systems safely.

The LMS allows you to set specific and standardised training, including criteria for mandatory completion to gain certification. In this way you can share best practice across your company and extended enterprise, to make sure everyone is following the latest guidance and maintaining the highest standards of health and safety.

With improved levels of engagement and reduced time to competence compared to other learning management systems, Empowered can help manufacturers, dealerships and garages to mitigate the risk of accidents and fatalities among staff and customers linked to electrified powertrains. It can ensure you are prepared to face future technological challenges, as well as helping to close the current high voltage skills gap.

Topics: Automotive Skills, Learning Strategy, Learning Management System

 

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