North Wales college in pole position to support electric vehicle skills demand

COLEG CAMBRIA is in pole position to train the next generation of electric and hybrid vehicle mechanics.

Learners at the college’s sites in Deeside and Bersham Road, Wrexham, have been undertaking Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Repair 2 and 3 qualifications to meet unprecedented demand for skilled technicians to work on zero-emission transport.

And with new Knowledge and Practical programmes to be unveiled in 2022 – including Electrical Diagnostics, Electrical Testing, and Engine Management – Carl Black, Curriculum Director for Engineering, Automotive and Electrical Technical at Deeside said the time is now for independent garages to shift gears and join the trade’s ‘green revolution’.

“We have the facilities, the skills and the expertise to train students and those already working in the industry to meet the needs of motorists, now and in the future,” said Carl.

“Cambria’s teams at both Deeside and Bersham Road have all undergone extensive training in order to be able to deliver these courses, which is why we believe we are now at the forefront of education and training at a crucial time for the sector.”

He added: “The college has hybrid and full electric vehicles on-site and are in discussions with manufacturers to forge new partnerships to install further cutting-edge machinery and vehicles.

“The facilities are state-of-the-art and a reflection of the environments in which technicians are already working; as advances are made the college will match them to ensure we are always ready – this is a massive change for the automotive sector and will be for years to come.”

Lecturer Charles Jones agrees and says in addition to apprentices on the City and Guilds qualification, those already working in the trade can sign up for six-week programmes for free via the Welsh Government’s Personal Learning Account (PLA) programme.

“We are helping the sector prepare for that 2030 deadline from petrol and diesel to fossil-free travel,” he said.

“We have already trained around 40 people and there are many more who want to enrol but given health and safety restrictions and the hands-on nature of the course we have kept cohort numbers relatively small, so they get more out of it. The feedback has been very positive.”

Charles added: “The big names and dealerships in the automotive industry will train people in-house but there are hundreds of independent garages in this region that could be left behind. There is a skills gap, and we are helping to address it.”

Among those enjoying the Hybrid/Electric programme as part of their Level 3 Motor Vehicle course are Trinity Jones, from Buckley, and Bagillt’s Samuel Marshall.

“I was inspired to join the course after visiting an engine manufacturing plant, that spurred me on to do something in this industry. I love cars and mechanics – that’s where I see my future,” said Trinity, 18.

Samuel, 20, added: “I worked for a company in the trade to get experience and then decided to go back to college to learn more on the technical side. The move from petrol and diesel to hybrid/electrical is happening now so we are in the right place to learn more and prepare for a career in this industry.”

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