Blackburn College is the driving force behind a new £1.3m motor vehicle project which will bridge the skills gap in low-carbon vehicle mechanics.
The college is leading the Lancashire Automotive Skills Accelerator Project funded by the Department for Education, as part of The Skills Accelerator Strategic Development Fund.
The project, which was officially launched at Blackburn College on Tuesday, will create low-carbon skills centres across Lancashire, providing significant investment in cutting-edge technologies and upskilling teachers to ensure that courses meet the needs of employers and the industry.
The skills centres will support the Government’s commitment to withdrawing the sale of new petrol or diesel cars in 2030 as part of the UK’s net-zero targets.
The project will work with dealerships and independent garages to train the employees of the future in the safe, service repair and maintenance of electric and hybrid vehicles. The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) expect a requirement for 90,000 technicians by 2030 with a 35,700 shortfall.
The project will create five electric and hybrid vehicle skills centres across Lancashire at Blackburn College, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Lancaster and Morecambe College, Myerscough College and Nelson and Colne College Group. Specialisms will include:
- Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Service, Repair & Maintenance
- Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Motor Sport
- Electric & Hybrid Plant Vehicle Technology
- Battery Technology
- Electric & Hybrid Charging Infrastructure
Blackburn College’s Regional Automotive Technology Hub (RATH) will focus on Electric and Hybrid vehicle maintenance, service and repair.
The project will create a range of new short courses to meet employer needs, whilst Master Technicians will deliver masterclasses for staff and students.
A Lancashire Independent Garage Network will be established to support motor vehicle businesses across Lancashire with skills, advice and guidance on how to meet the future industry demands for Electric and Hybrid vehicles and to adapt their business for growth.
The Independent Garage Network will develop employer partnerships with the colleges to explore new techniques and approaches to carbon neutrality.
Nicola Clayton, director of business development and external engagement at Blackburn College said:
“We are thrilled to have launched the Lancashire Automotive Skills Accelerator Project, which will be a vital tool in helping to bridge the skills gap in low carbon vehicle mechanics in Lancashire”.
“Working alongside business partners, we will be able to provide our students with access to cutting-edge technologies and skills development that will help meet the needs of their future employers.”
Chris Nuttall, workshop manager from Bowker BMW in Blackburn said:
“The project is a great step in the right direction in terms of ensuring the needs of the industry are met.”
“At Bowker we already work alongside Blackburn College as our apprentices attend the college. It’s great to see that they will have access to the most up-to-date training to ensure they develop the skills to get them where they need to be.”