Just 5% of mechanics in the UK are qualified to work on electric cars, leaving the industry struggling to meet the 2030 deadline to transition from petrol and diesel to fossil-free, zero-emission travel.
The college’s Bersham Road site in Wrexham is planning to unveil an innovative training facility ahead of the 2020/21 academic year that will help meet an anticipated surge in demand.
From September, students can sign up for an IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Repair Level 3 qualification in a cutting-edge facility combining the latest technology and equipment with interactive learning.
To further boost Cambria’s credentials, Automotive Trainer Mentor Alex Woodward has been awarded Low Carbon Consultant Expert status from the European Centre of Technology (ECT) Renewable Energy Institute.
Carl Roberts, Curriculum Director, said the accolade will further strengthen their position as a centre of excellence.
“Alex’s fantastic achievement gives us a great foundation to build on,” said Carl.
“The rest of the team will be in position to deliver the Level 3 course from September, so Bersham Road will be at the forefront of education and training at a crucial time for the trade.
“The move from petrol and diesel to electric and hybrid is the biggest change facing the automotive sector for 40-50 years, so dealerships and garages across the country will have to be ready.
“The IMI is pushing for all technicians to be trained to work on hybrid and electric, so from a diagnostic and safety point of view it is crucial they move quickly.”
He added: “The Low Carbon Consultant Expert series of courses completed by Alex are not just about vehicles, the knowledge developed can be transferred to multiple trades, from electrical engineering to construction, plumbing, welding and more.
“The green agenda means we will lean into other areas, so the possibilities are endless.”
The college invested in the switch to electric and hybrid pre-Covid but was unable to train staff and unveil the centre because of the pandemic.
They already have a hybrid vehicle on-site and are in discussions with manufacturers to forge new partnerships and install further cutting-edge machinery, as well as sourcing an electric car.
Alex said: “Safety is top priority so we have a rig on which learners can work on the engine without any risks and simulate issues and solutions that would happen in real-time, real-life scenarios.
“People in the trade will need to be prepared because, like with a petrol or diesel car, when the warranty runs out motorists will be looking to take their vehicle to an independent garage. At present they’re not in a position to do the work.”
On receiving the ECT accolade, he added: “That was a great honour and came after a I completed three courses on electric vehicles, hydrogen energy and the financial side of the move towards electric and low-carbon.
“I’ve been working with cars and vehicles of all kinds since the 1970s and this is the biggest shift I’ve ever seen; we are no longer mechanics and things are going to be different as the world moves towards zero emissions.
“Governments have their targets and we are here to help achieve them – the industry needs to be ready.”
Image shows Karl Jackson, Assistant Principal, Institute of Technology, Bersham Road and Alex Woodward
For more on the range of courses available at Coleg Cambria Bersham Road, visit the website: www.cambria.ac.uk/facilities/