SEVERAL automakers have welcomed the move to improve the level of electric vehicle technology certification offered by vocational training institutions in Australia.
Although the companies all have their own in-house training programs, they recognize the importance of training qualified technicians to service, diagnose and repair battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and their components across the country.
Last year, following extensive consultation with employers, industry representatives, employees, trainers and assessors, students and other stakeholders, PwC’s Skills for Australia proposed the introduction of a new qualification – Certificate III in Automotive Electric Vehicle Technology – as well as two new competence units. .
Subsequently, in October 2021, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee reviewed – and approved – PwC’s proposed training product for skills in Australia (to ostensibly address a skills gap related to diagnostics and repair of electric vehicle powertrains) and sent it back to the ministers of competence for their approval.
Toyota, Hyundai and BMW were among the local automakers that had consulted PwC over the proposed introduction of a new qualification – Certificate III in Automotive Electric Vehicle Technology (EVT) – in the previous year.
A spokesperson for Toyota Australia – the market leader and dominant force in the petrol-electric segment – told GoAuto that the company “fully supports the inclusion of formal qualifications to address current and future electrification technology”.
“It is important to ensure that there are consistent industry standards applicable across all states and territories,” they said.
“PwC sought our advice on a range of issues, and we gladly supported each consultation session.”
A representative from MG Motor Australia and New Zealand described the Cert III training as “a terrific start” and said the company looked forward to a nationwide rollout of related training and education programs.
Volvo Car Australia said the new qualification “will provide a seamless standard which will enable apprentices to develop their skills and knowledge and achieve a relevant new qualification which most manufacturers and dealers will be looking for when recruiting in the future”.
“This will benefit Australian dealerships who may (otherwise) look to overseas markets to find qualified candidates and maintain the relevance of careers in the Australian automotive industry in an ever-changing consumer goods market,” said a doorman. -word from Volvo to GoAuto.
“Currently, EV training modules are optional modules as part of third-year apprentices, but are compulsory for fourth-year apprentices,” they said.
“The new level of certification should see aspects of this training included at a much earlier stage.”
BMW Group Australia said that as a foundational generic certificate, the development of a formal qualification was “a solid and positive start” which would lay the foundation for providing an understanding of high voltage technology”.
The company participated in the consultation with PwC, outlining its qualification requirements for high-voltage technicians and detailing the repairs they have carried out on high-voltage systems and batteries.
As for broadening the general knowledge base about electric vehicles, BMW said auto bodies could help in this area by developing a curriculum for schools to boost student engagement.
“Electric vehicles will be an important part of their lives in the future and starting the education process at this point would not only help them understand, but perhaps inspire them to get involved in the automotive industry,” he said. a BMW Group spokesperson told GoAuto.
Hyundai has also consulted with PwC and a senior member of its technical training organization is a member of the industry benchmark committee for the light-duty vehicle sector, which works with PwC to develop and review training modules.
Mercedes-Benz Australia said its commitment to developing electric vehicle knowledge for its entire workforce included a high voltage (HV) training module for all staff at retail level, regardless of their specific roles, and training programs were designed to ensure technicians at all levels would be exposed to HV topics.
“Future industry efforts in this space are welcome, ideally ensuring that every state works to the same requirements,” a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson said.
The proposed National Certificate III in EVT has demonstrated that the demand for combined expertise in ICE and electric vehicles is growing “and should be an integral part of qualification programs for anyone hoping to work on both types of transmissions”, Volvo said. Car Australia.
MG’s position was that the qualification “could almost be considered essential to the training of future technicians”.
“It’s not just EV and ICE technology – the combination of the two is equally important. Having both skills is crucial to sustaining the next generation of technicians,” the MG spokesperson told GoAuto .
For its part, BMW Group Australia said it “fully supported the concept of training on ICE, PHEV and BEV from the start”.
“It will develop young talents from the start, turning them into well-rounded professionals for the future.”