THE CHALLENGE to address the skills shortage in the sustainable transport sector is on in Coventry and Warwickshire.
The message at a recent event about the future vehicle electrification in the region – organised by Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council – was that the skills shortage to help deliver the net zero vehicle revolution should be a challenge and not a problem.
Around 50 delegates heard from speakers discussing the huge change electrification is bringing to the vehicle industry, heard insights into the skill needs and how the region can be a leader in the field.
Electrification is a key focus of CWLEP which is committed to green recovery, low carbon technologies and driving forward as the region’s lead on the country’s electrification revolution.
Dr Silverstone, lead for the National Electrification Skills Framework, said Coventry and Warwickshire was ideally placed with its rich heritage and global reputation in the automotive industry to be a trail-blazer in vehicle electrification.
He said: “We have to view this as a challenge – and one we can rise to. We need to inspire younger people to view this as a stimulating and rewarding career, rather than a job that helps us solve a problem.
“I would much rather people did not use the word ‘problem’ in talking about skills. A whole new world – in a sector in which we have great strengths – is opening up and we need to be in a a position to capitalise. That is an opportunity.”
Marion Plant, chair of CWLEP’s Productivity and Skills Business Group, said she was confident regional businesses would rise to the challenge of re-training and upskilling their staff.
She said: “It was a really thought-provoking and interesting event focused on the Future of Vehicle Electrification.
“We need to make sure people are equipped with the skills needed to drive forward the green revolution and that includes universities and Further Education colleges to inspire the next generation of engineers and technicians to deliver the electrification revolution.
“One of the great strengths of our area has been our partnership-approach which has been led by CWLEP and that is going to be really important in meeting the challenges of electrification with a collaborative approach to deliver the skills which the sector requires not only now but in the medium and long-term.
“A perfect example of the need to train and upskill staff is the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre which has been developed to support UK industry with the development of battery technologies for future electrification.
“We are at the prototype stage of Very Light Rail in Coventry and a West Midlands Gigafactory in Coventry would present a variety of great opportunities.
“These projects showcase the difference Coventry and Warwickshire is making to the government’s electrification and net zero targets which is why it is imperative we build a skills eco-system for zero carbon vehicles, vehicle electrification and battery technology.”