For the UK to successfully transition to an electrified and Net Zero future, all elements of industry and education must work together. But technology will not solve the problem alone, we need a qualified workforce and new skills. How achievable are the 2030 goals?
As Sales Director of Jonathan Lee Recruitment, I spend a lot of time talking to our contacts in industry about the future of automotive and the 2030 roadmap. The UK Automotive sector is committed to transition to Net Zero by 2030, in turn a workforce that can fulfil a circular economy that satisfies the needs of the electrified auto industry from the OEM to the extremities of its supply chain represents an enormous challenge, but also a huge opportunity for the people of the UK.
Skills are already in high demand in what is currently a very limited candidate pool, our activities to attract candidates for our clients vacancies almost always requires us to search outside of the UK with indigenous talent being exhausted very quickly. Action is needed now to address the shortfall of candidates that will satisfy the enormous demands for skills and talent for building our charging infrastructure, manufacturing our vehicle batteries, developing and manufacturing our electric cars, and creating a robust electrification supply chain.
The development of a workforce that will make this commitment a reality needs to begin at grass roots level, and be created within communities with immediate effect if we are to safeguard this opportunity for our economy.
So it’s great to see that WMG – University of Warwick, The Faraday Institution, and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult have developed a new skills framework to guarantee the UK is prepared for the transition to meet the Government’s aim to phase out new diesel and gasoline cars by 2030.
This stretching target has forced UK industry and particularly the automotive sector to accelerate the design and development of electrified products at a rate that will continue to rise for the next 10 to 15 years. With engineering skills already in short supply in the UK given the lack of investment in STEM education and more pointedly post-Brexit, the National Electrification Skills Framework and Forum, authored by WMG, University of Warwick, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and the Faraday Institution which outlines how transport and utility sectors can re-skill, up-skill, and new-skill their workforce to meet skills demand at the point of need is not only welcome, but is absolutely essential to the future of the industry.
The report, which is aimed at employers, training providers, accrediting organisations, and learners, discusses how industry engagement, as well as educational collaboration rather than competition, will be critical in putting the UK at the forefront of the electric revolution and securing future job opportunities.
The Framework suggests using short and extended courses, as well as continuing professional development, to teach competency sets to accomplish electrification goals in a variety of industries. The framework now addresses vehicle electrification as well as battery manufacturing, power electronics, motors and drives, and the lessons learned will be applied to rail, aviation, and utilities in the future.
The research examines the fundamental principles and abilities required to make the UK a world leader in electrification through collaboration with industry participants and educational providers. Employees can advance in their careers and firms can provide a feasible approach of managing and improving workforce skills in line with company objectives through re-skilling, up-skilling, and giving routes through education to enable new skills.
The forum allows not only different organisations from various industries to communicate, but also training providers from throughout the UK to collaborate and crystallise the need for training, allowing the proper courses to be delivered at the moment of need. Overall, the forum will serve to generate chances for skill development and make the electric transition as seamless and sustainable as possible. Collaboration is going to be critical to future skills development and retention.
“Electrification of the automotive and aerospace industries, as well as the establishment of UK battery production facilities (gigafactories), represents a significant industrial opportunity for the UK, and one where having a workforce with the required skills and capabilities will be essential for the nation to compete successfully on the European stage,” says Professor David Greenwood, CEO of the WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult at the University of Warwick.
“As these sectors transition to fully electric products, we have suggested a national strategy for electrification skills, which will provide a framework for delivering a workforce with the requisite skills and capacities to deliver the sectoral technology roadmaps.” This concentration will be critical for the sector to succeed in a highly competitive global market.”
“UK business is undertaking an exciting and rapid change to satisfy the UK Government’s 2050 Net Zero goals,” says Tony Harper, Director of the Faraday Battery Challenge at UK Research and Innovation. This once-in-a-generation global technology transformation has created competency gaps at all career levels, particularly in engineering and manufacturing sectors, which will require specialised education and training to fill.
“We are glad to provide a UK-wide framework and forum to re-skill, up-skill, and new skill the UK engineering and manufacturing workforce, which is a significant step forward in ensuring the right skills are in place at the right time.“
Jonathan Lee Recruitment has been supporting automotive professionals and businesses nationwide for over 40 years, matching quality candidates with leading companies. We understand the current candidate shortage being felt across the board and we have the knowledge, experience and contact pool to help clients through challenging times. Click here for more information about our automotive recruitment services.
Credit: The Faraday Institution – For more information on this topic please visit https://www.faraday.ac.uk/electrification-skills-framework-and-forum/