Dubai, UAE: The ongoing shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) has emphasised the need for upskilling in the automotive aftermarket industry to ensure the health and safety of both the industry workforce and end-users.
The rise of EVs and tech-guided car manufacturing, design and engineering has led to demand for an entirely new set of skills in servicing and repair, and experts discussed challenges to the industry in a recent Automechanika Dubai webinar, ‘The EV Future – a need for new skills in the automotive industry’.
Panellist Steve Nash, CEO for The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), which has a network of just under 700 training organisations in 50 countries, explained the importance of upskilling and training to prepare for the influx of new EVs.
Nash said: “It doesn’t matter how well qualified you are on internal combustion engines if you haven’t worked with electric vehicles. You are working with potentially lethal voltages and without proper qualification you’re taking some pretty big risks. We have been working to put in place appropriate standards to protect both employees and employers.”
Echoing Nash’s sentiment, Khaled Alwassia, Trainer for Tiqani Management Consultancy – a firm that provides talent to businesses in the automotive industry – said: “The requirements for an automotive technician are changing. Entry requirements are higher and we need people who have an understanding of physics, maths and science. The old approach of learning on the job won’t be applicable anymore because of the technology and more advanced components.”
Alwassia also warned of region-specific challenges to overcome in infrastructure before the pledge of one million EVs on the roads of KSA, Jordan and the UAE can be met.
He said: “In order to have one million EVs on the road, 70,000 public AC charging points are required in addition to 7,100 fast chargers, and one million private charge points.
“What also needs to be considered is the installation rights in apartment blocks – will the owner allow for a charging station to be installed? Additionally, the way electric providers schedule their consumption peaks is in the late afternoon, when residents arrive home from work.
“With EVs this will be an even higher peak when people start to charge vehicles. The wider network needs to be upgraded to handle that load.”
The demand for more skilled technicians to handle the influx of EVs over the next decade will only increase.
Nash said: “Electrification is across everything of course, from micro-scooters all the way up to heavy vehicles. Based off the research we have done, by the middle of this decade we expect electrified vehicles to take up half the market,” he said.
The panel discussion was one of a series of online seminars and events based on industry topics relevant to Automechanika Dubai, the Middle East and Africa’s largest international trade show for the automotive aftermarket and service industry. The 18th edition takes place from 7-9 June 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. More information is available at: www.automechanikadubai.com