Skills a priority as electrification race aims to deliver more than 169,000 jobs
Hundreds of thousands of new skilled jobs will need to be created over the next two years if the UK is going to transition to zero-emission vehicles, according to delegates at a recent conference in Birmingham.
Delegates at the first Electric Revolution Skills Hub (ERS Hub) Conference heard how skills and training people are the two biggest barriers to ensuring the country leads the way in the global electrification race.
Companies urgently need to build capacity in the supply chain, so that the UK avoids becoming “just a design house” for new technologies like it has in other fast-emerging markets.
Leaders from the sector believe if action is taken now the country can still become a hotbed for the production and development of power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD), generating more than £12bn of domestic revenue by 2025.
More than 200 delegates gathered at the ICC Birmingham to hear this rallying call and celebrate the official launch of the ERS Hub, an integrated digital platform providing inclusive access to training, development, and jobs.
Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, maxon, Hewland and an army of SMEs are already backing its introduction, with 150 companies and organisations set to benefit in the first year alone.
“We’ve let too many sectors disappear or become design houses, letting other countries manufacture our technologies…we can’t let this happen to electrification and clean mobility,” explained Deepak Farmah, commercial director of the ERS Hub.
“The opportunity is huge, and we’ve got some of the brightest minds in the industry. Now is the time to seriously look at capacity and capability, ensuring we have the people in place – with the right skills – to take advantage of the emerging demand for power electronics, machines and drives.”
He continued: “Government has committed £500m to support 169,000 jobs in zero emission vehicles and this is just the tip of the iceberg…electrification touches many industries, including aerospace, agriculture, energy and marine.
“The ERS Hub is an important new weapon in the sector’s arsenal and will help firms understand what skills are needed through a Body of Knowledge and a cutting-edge skills diagnostic tool.
“You will be able to find training courses through a trusted directory, as well as sourcing new talent through an interactive jobs board. The platform will also be a vital resource for people looking to make the transition into electrification.”
At the heart of the ERS Hub will be the Body of Knowledge, which will promote a consistent view of PEMD and build a consensus for the disciplines required to upskill the UK workforce.
It will help businesses attract new individuals to work in electrification and support growth in this vital industry by making training courses – including electrical engineering, laminations, motors, automation, and 3D printing – easy to find through a comprehensive catalogue.
The ERS Hub, which is being delivered by Coventry University and funded in partnership with UKRI and Innovate UK, will host the industry’s first jobs board purely for electrification, providing a constantly updated list of available positions, the skills required for those roles and average renumeration.
The platform also supports academia and training providers by working with them to promote and encourage students to consider a career in this field and, importantly, connect with industry.
Washington-based Advanced Electric Machines Limited (AEM), a globally recognised designer and manufacturer of sustainable electric powertrain technologies, is one of the first firms to back the ERS Hub.
James Widmer, CEO and Founder of AEM, added his support: “The primary challenge most companies face is identifying and sourcing the essential skills required to meet market demands.
“The UK urgently needs a solution to upskill employees to compete globally – the ERS Hub will help the sector to begin solving this critical problem that is holding back progress.”
In addition to the launch of the ERS Hub, the conference also featured a range of influential speakers, including Florbela Costa (Head of Engineering at Parvalux – a maxon company), Will Mason (Managing Director of maxon), Paul Jarvie (Centre Lead for Driving the Electric Revolution) and Charlie Martin (British racing driver and transgender activist).