A pioneering course led by Sandwell College’s Automotive Team is giving people in the Black Country the specialist skills needed to oversee maintenance on electric and hybrid vehicles.
Thanks to backing from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the course has been designed to support automotive employers in the region upskill their workforce and support aspiring mechanics who wish to fully understand how to undergo routine maintenance on electric and hybrid vehicles.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, recently visited Sandwell College to learn more about how the WMCA is helping to back the course as well as to meet staff and congratulate them on recently being recognised as Members of the Institute of Motor Institute (MIMI) and Certificated Automotive Engineers (CAE).
Students will be given the skills to carry out diagnostic, testing and repair activities, and upon completion of the course will receive a certificate demonstrating they have obtained the skills to handle high voltage vehicle electrical components and systems.
The market contribution for new vehicle technologies is predicted to be around £51bn but current data shows that only one in 20 mechanics in garages and dealerships are currently qualified to maintain and repair electric vehicles.
Graham Pennington, principal of Sandwell College, said: “As Sandwell College continues to grow, we are investing in a range of facilities, including high-value Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing and Green technologies.
“The College is working with the WMCA to make sure Sandwell and its residents benefit from growth in green related jobs, and in particular electric vehicles. Our teachers will be at the forefront of delivery courses in green vehicle technologies providing the next generation of knowledge and skills needed in a rapidly growing sector of our regional economy.”
The Mayor said: “Our region is very much at the vanguard of the Green Industrial Revolution and that’s why we continue to provide opportunities for local people to upskill in order to take advantage of the plentiful job opportunities emerging in the green sector.
“Green technology will play a vital part in our region’s future and this course at Sandwell College gives learners the tools they need to pursue a career in the sector at the same time as gaining a well-regarded qualification in electric and hybrid vehicle maintenance.
“This course dovetails well with our West Midlands Plan for Growth in which we’ve identified EV Tech as a key cluster with tremendous growth potential in the months and years ahead.”
Cllr George Duggins, WMCA portfolio lead for skills and productivity and leader of Coventry City Council, said: “Hybrid and electric vehicles will play a big part in the future of our region and there is currently a skills gap within the industry of people who fully understand proper maintenance of these vehicles.
“This course at Sandwell College will further help to address that skills gap by providing local people with the opportunity to be trained and upskill to a higher technical level and gain the jobs of the future.”
Image caption (L-R): Nick Evans (Head of Department), Nigel Briscoe (Automotive Engineering Lecturer), Andy Street (Mayor of the West Midlands), Graham Pennington (Principal & Chief Executive), Anne Scrimshaw (Fab Lab Manager) and Chris Demetrios (Associate Principal).