Government urged to launch green jobs programme to respond to EV charging skills gap
The UK Government has been urged to address a looming skills gap that could derail charging infrastructure and uptake as well as electric vehicle (EV) repairs.
RECHARGE UK, the EV and charging arm of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), has called on the Government to rapidly improve grid connections for the growing EV market by addressing the skills gap.
The organisation claims that one of the key challenges facing the EV industry will be a lack of skilled professionals who are able to install and maintain charging infrastructure or maintain and repair EVs.
RECHARGE UK notes that chargepoint numbers are expected to increase from 40,000 points today to 300,000 by 2030 under the Government’s ambitions. However, a limited skills pool means that the transition will be under-resourced. The organisation also warns that new skill sets will be required to manage the increased workload of maintaining chargepoints once installed.
In response, the REA is calling on all political parties in the run-up to the next General Election to address this skills gap.
The REA’s chief executive, Dr Nina Skorupska said: “Bridging the EV skills gap is key. There are so many papers talking about green jobs but our ‘Charging Forward to 2030’ report homes in on what the skills gaps are when delivering EV infrastructure. The Government has said it wants 300,000 charge points to be put in by 2030, but we have a limited skills pool to draw upon.
“RECHARGE UK urges the Government, the education sector, and the electric vehicle sector to work together and urgently establish courses that can be used to capture the energy of young people who are passionate about mitigating climate change whilst also upskilling the existing workforce. This will deliver a just transition, that provides opportunities for all, regardless of background, and infrastructure built to the standard and quality that society deserves.”
Gigafactories and EVs
Earlier this month, Jaguar Land Rover’s owner, Tata Group, confirmed plans to build a battery manufacturing plant in the UK.
Tata Group had confirmed that it will make a £4bn investment in a 40GW factory in the UK. It is being reported that the Government has provided a “significant” subsidy to get this decision over the line, but a figure has not been provided. It is hoped that the first batteries will be sold in 2026 and that the facility could create up to 4,000 new green jobs.
The UK Government has already been urged several times to set more robust plans for growing the nation’s Gigafactory stock this decade, to avoid relying on imports and therefore missing out on opportunities for green job creation and international battery trade.
The REA claims that these milestone projects will need to be supported by highly skilled workers.
The REA’s transport policy manager Matthew Adams said: “EV infrastructure from chargepoints to gigafactories must be prioritised in grid connection queues to maximise EV availability and adoption, which will realise the greatest carbon savings.
“It is clear therefore, that the Government must launch a green jobs campaign that provides opportunities for new entrants to the job market and empowers the existing workforce to upskill and retrain for the significant opportunities that are available to them, especially given announcements like Tata’s. RECHARGE UK will be producing a skills report in November which will provide more details on how to harness the existing skilled workforce and young talent who want green jobs across the electric and low carbon fuels sectors.”
Adams added that the REA expects there to be a shortfall of 25,100 EV-trained TechSafe technicians by 2030. In response, the Government should reform the Apprenticeship Levy to allocate funding toward training areas such as electrification and transport.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a ten-fold increase in EV manufacturing would boost the UK economy by more than £100bn – but the automotive industry is concerned that the Government is not planning to seize this “prize”.
EV production levels of more than 750,000 vehicles per year by 2030 would be consistent with the UK’s legally binding climate commitments and its ban on new diesel and petrol car and van sales from 2030, the SMMT notes. It would, the SMMT states, deliver some £106bn of economic benefit to scale EV manufacturing this rapidly.
However, the UK Government has been accused of squandering the EV opportunity by delaying the launch of subsidy packages to rival the US and EU; failing to guarantee affordable energy for manufacturers and not easing post-Brexit supply chain tensions.
One solution floated by the SMMT is a change to immigration policies, making it easier for professionals skilled in EV development and manufacturing to move to the UK. One in five manufacturing workers in the UK are immigrants, according to official government figures.
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