RECHARGE UK release four pillar approach to address the UK’s EV skills shortage

  • RECHARGE UK reports skills challenges in the UK’s EV industry.
  • Recommendations include outreach, upskilling, and reskilling programs.
  • Stakeholder collaboration is crucial for a sustainable, innovative EV workforce.

The latest report from RECHARGE UK tackles the EV skills shortage in the UK with a pragmatic approach

The UK’s electric vehicle (EV) industry is rapidly evolving, presenting huge opportunities alongside challenges for workforce skills. RECHARGE UK has released a comprehensive report proposing actionable steps to address them.

The challenges facing the EV sector in the UK are multifaceted and dynamic. One of the primary hurdles is the shortage of skilled workers equipped to meet the evolving demands of the industry. As technology advances and consumer preferences shift towards emobility, there’s a pressing need for a workforce proficient in areas such as battery technology. 

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Matthew Adams, Transport Policy Manager at the REA, commented:

“At every event or conference, you go to, the same question is always asked: ‘But do we have the skills for this?’ 

Our members, Parliamentarians and external stakeholders have expressed their concerns and we as an organisation have responded. Setting out a comprehensive report of the entire EV sector, setting out the current recruitment challenges faced by the sector, as well as the eCorts of CPOs and DNOs in upskilling and reskilling to ensure a future-proofed career pathway. We have also made a series of structured recommendations on how collectively the industry and Government can collaborate to prepare the workforce and the next generation for the transition to a predominantly electric road transport system. We suggest this is a platform to engage and collaborate, so please do contact us if you want to know how to get involved with existing Government programmes or want to support our key asks.” 

At the report’s core are four pivotal recommendations to bridge the skills gap in the EV sector. 

First, is a call to create outreach programs inspiring the next generation of emobility workers. This initiative will highlight the purpose and passion of the sector, guiding young minds towards careers in EV technology.

Secondly, the report advocates establishing local ‘Centres of Excellence’ dedicated to net zero skills. These centres would serve as hubs of specialised training, equipping individuals with the technical know-how needed to thrive in various EV industry facets. These centres will effectively address localised skills gaps by decentralising skill development initiatives.

Thirdly, the report stresses the importance of upskilling programs for the existing workforce. As the EV sector evolves, employees must stay abreast of the latest technological advancements and industry standards. Through targeted upskilling initiatives, workers can remain competitive and contribute meaningfully to the sector’s growth trajectory.

Lastly, there’s a strong emphasis on reskilling programs designed for individuals outside the traditional EV sector purview. Recognising diverse talent pools across industries, these programs aim to tap into potential and channel it towards the burgeoning EV market. By providing avenues for career transition and skill diversification, such initiatives unlock untapped talent reservoirs.

Matt Western MP, Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Electric Vehicles, said:

“If we are going to decarbonise our economy and take advantage of the green opportunities of the future, we will need a workplace capable of delivering it. That’s why this report by the REA is so important and I hope it positively influences the debate.

There’s so much enthusiasm for the climate agenda among young people we need to harness. I want to see the Government commit to supporting colleges to specialise in the technical skills needed to build electric vehicles, as well as reform the apprenticeship levy to unlock funding for retraining and reskilling employees in the automotive sector.”

Integral to the report’s findings are insights from extensive engagement with key industry stakeholders. These include charge point operators, energy networks, and local authorities. They underscore the urgent need for concerted action in addressing skill deficiencies and fostering a robust talent pipeline for the EV sector.

Andrew Morgan, Managing Partner at Curzon Consulting, said:

“Our contributing research with industry stakeholders on the frontline of the EV revolution shines a light on the exciting new career paths it is creating and the determination they are making to grow and develop the talent pool. It also underlines the urgent and continued need to do more and for industry to be supported by Government to match the eCorts and underpin the continued expansion of the EV sector.”

Heather Foster, Programme Manager – EV Infrastructure Strategy at Midlands Connect, said:

“It is great to see the local transport authority skills challenges identified across the EV infrastructure skills map. Local transport authorities play a crucial part in enabling the delivery of equitable, aCordable charging infrastructure on street, to enable residents and businesses to transition to electric vehicles. Skills to support local councils are key in delivering equitable public EV infrastructure to help decarbonise transport.”

Lindsay Warren, Managing Director of Net Zero Evolution, said:

“As the founder of Net Zero Heroes, Net Zero Evolutions not-for-profit schools outreach program designed to link the curriculum to roles within the net zero sectors, I welcome the RECHARGE UK report highlighting the challenges and opportunities around skills in the electric vehicle charging sector.

We are excited to be collaborating with the EV charging sector, government stakeholders and local schools to develop and implement inspiring outreach programs that connect students with role models from the industry to present real-world examples of potential positions and future technologies from the industry. We are committed to playing a pivotal role in shaping the future workforce for a sustainable and prosperous society and we encourage you to join us.”

The RECHARGE UK report serves as a clarion call for concerted action to address the skills challenges facing the EV sector. By implementing recommended strategies, stakeholders unlock the full potential of the workforce and propel the industry towards greater heights of innovation and sustainability.

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