An Independent Garage Network has been set-up by Blackburn College which will help garages across Lancashire get access to the latest training provision and share expertise.

The launch of the network was held at the Regional Automotive Technology Hub (RATH) at Blackburn College, where attendees were given a tour of the facilities, and information about how the Independent Garage Network would help support the training requirements of the industry.

During the event the visitors were also given information about the new specialist hybrid/electrical equipment being obtained by the college, as well as the new electric/hybrid training centre that is being launched at the College in the new year.

Nicola Clayton, director of business development and external engagement at Blackburn College said:

“The Independent Garage Network will be a huge asset to the independent garages across Lancashire, by helping them to collaborate with other garages and businesses, to allow knowledge and expertise to be shared.

“The network will also help the College to continue to engage with professional partners, allowing us to stay current to the needs of the industry and provide training opportunities for our young people.”

Chris Calvert, workshop foreman at Intack Self Drive, who attended the event, said:

“We’re looking forward to using Blackburn College’s new training facilities to upskill our workshop staff to allow safe working practices on the latest hybrid and electric vehicles currently being added to the Intack Self Drive fleet.

“We’re hopeful that the Independent Garage Network will enable both skills and workload sharing with other local businesses.”

The Independent Garage Network comes as part of the Lancashire Automotive Skills Accelerator Project, a new £1.3m motor vehicle project launched earlier in November, which will bridge the skills gap in low-carbon vehicle mechanics.

Blackburn College is leading the Lancashire Automotive Skills Accelerator Project, which is funded by the Department for Education, as part of The Skills Accelerator Strategic Development Fund.

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) expects a requirement for 90,000 technicians by 2030 with a 35,700 shortfall.

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.

It will also create five electric and hybrid vehicle skills centres across Lancashire. For more information and to join the Independent Garage Network Launch, please go to: https://www.blackburn.ac.uk/forms/independentgaragesnetwork/

For more member news, click here.