- Electric vehicle charging infrastructure arm of the REA raises concern about the skills gap and lack of skilled professionals who can install, maintain and repair charging infrastructure or electric vehicles;
- A targeted green jobs campaign would provide opportunities for new entrants to the job market and empower the existing workforce to upskill and retrain;
- New report from RECHARGE UK recommends that the Government reform the Apprenticeship Levy;
- Government, the education and electric vehicle and charging infrastructure sectors must now work together to establish pathways to upskill the existing workforce.
With Tata recently confirming plans to build a new Gigafactory in the UK and providing up to 4,000 direct jobs, RECHARGE UK are urging the UK Government to address the green EV jobs skills gap.
New report ‘Charging Forward to 2030’ by RECHARGE UK, which is the EV arm of the REA (Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology), provides a roadmap of how the industry can accelerate chargepoint deployment to keep up with the growth of EV sales in the UK.
The report, which was launched at an event in Westminster last week, highlights the need to rapidly improve grid connections and address the skills gap.
RECHARGE UK believe a key issue across the EV industry going forward will be a lack of skilled professionals who are able to install and maintain charging infrastructure or maintain and repair electric vehicles.
As the charging industry is expected to increase chargepoint numbers from over 40,000 charge points today to the Government’s target of 300,000 by 2030, the limited skills pool will be severely under-resourced to manage the rising number of charge point installations and charge point manufacturing. In addition, there will be an increasing workload involved in maintaining charge points once installed.
Matthew Adams, Transport Policy Manager the REA (Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology) said:
“With the announcement that Tata have agreed to invest £4bn in the UK to build a new gigafactory providing up to 4,000 direct jobs, the recommendations in this report need to be implemented as soon as possible. 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.
“By 2030 there is expected to be a shortfall of 25,100 EV-trained TechSafe technicians. The Government should reform the Apprenticeship Levy so that a portion of unspent Levy funds could go toward priority training areas, including electrification, decarbonisation and digitalisation.”
Mark Constable, Chair of RECHARGE UK, said:
“Most of the net zero transition over the next decade won’t be delivered by people who are currently working in the clean transport and energy sectors. Instead, it will be largely delivered by people who are currently in other jobs or are still in education – people who are just setting out on their career path.
“So there needs to be a holistic approach to the influx of skills needed across all age ranges and across all backgrounds, to help them get into the industry and ultimately help get the UK over the finishing line.’’
Speaking at the launch of the report last week, Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the REA 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.
“All political parties in the run up to the next General Election should consider how to address the green skills gaps in the EV sector and demonstrate to the public why these roles are exciting, worthwhile, and valuable.”
Gavin Newlands MP (SNP, Vice Chair of EV APPG, Transport Committee) said:
“This is all down to a just transition. In Scotland, we are continually talking about a just transition from the oil and gas sector to a green industrial future, and Scotland is well placed to serve a lot of that. Scotland is now considering “How do we transition workers in the old industries and turn them into workers in the new industries?” I am not quite sure the UK Government has got to that point yet and if it is, it is getting there incredibly slowly. UK Government needs to have a real look at how we get workers out of the old, heavy industries that we still have and into the new industries that are clearly going to be around for generations to come. We need a clear strategy to transition.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently confirmed plans to limit the number of places available on university courses with lower levels of post-graduation employment. Responding to this, Mr Newlands added:
“If you are trying to refocus some of these efforts from higher education and tailor further education to apprenticeships and skills, then that must surely be targeted at growing industries as we push for net zero such as the EV sector.”
Notes to editors
The report from RECHARGE UK recognises that breaking down the barriers to chargepoint deployment will require several interventions, some of which will be at a local level, but the majority of which will need leadership from national and devolved Governments.
The report has developed a pathway which identifies where necessary changes to policy and regulation are required to accelerate chargepoint deployment and ensure charging plans are smarter, to meet 2030 requirements. It also provides DNOs and National Grid with additional data to highlight those areas most in need of additional network reinforcement for anticipatory investment before 2030.
This report also examines what skills are needed to ensure chargepoint deployment and operation is successful, how we can ensure that chargepoints are safe and accessible, and the skills needed to service and maintain EVs. Accessibility is a key requirement for chargepoint rollout success, with Motability leasing wheelchair accessible vehicles to over 650,000 customers today, highlighting the need for universal, accessible charging.
You can read the full report at: https://www.r-e-a.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Charging_Forward_to_2030_Report-19th_July_2023.pdf
Report conclusions and recommendations:
- Ensure that regions and local authorities have the grid capacity to support EV charging demand.
- Ensure the local grid is supported by flexibility through battery storage, solar and V2X.
- Break down the policy and regulatory barriers which currently add significant cost and time to chargepoint deployment.
- A skills campaign must be created by Government to promote green skills and encourage more electrical engineers and installers to fill the skills gaps that will emerge by 2030.
- Industry should develop a van standard to ensure commercial fleets and van drivers are able to use public charging infrastructure easily and so local authorities can easily enable this.
- The Government should mandate accessibility and safety requirements at all public charging locations where feasible.
- Consider the different use cases for a chargepoint and ensure they are flexible in design and accessible to support greater utilisation by different use cases.