Essex County Council secured £100,000 from the first round of the UK Community Renewal Fund to establish a new electric vehicle centre at Harlow College.
Responding to employer demand for up-to-date training in electric vehicle maintenance, Essex County Council secured £100,000 from the first round of the UK Community Renewal Fund to establish a new electric vehicle (EV) centre at Harlow College. Funding will allow the College to upskill 50 automotive technicians in the next two years, expand the curriculum to offer Institute of the Motor Industry training at level 2 and 3, update the knowledge of college tutors and engage with local employers. As a pilot, it is intended to encourage greater employer investment in green skills and provide evidence of the importance of training for business performance.
Investing in the EV centre and facilities is intended to get ahead of an increasing demand for EV maintenance skills over the next decade. This will ensure that local people and businesses have the rights skills when they are needed most.
The investment contributes to the County’s climate change goals, getting ahead of the anticipated high demand in maintenance skills that will emerge with increased ownership of electric vehicles. Harlow Council anticipate that there will be between 6,000 and 14,000 electric vehicles in the district by 2030. The course is funded to offer free training to locally employed mechanics over the first two years of operation, starting in September 2022. This pilot phase will embed the curriculum and form a basis to expand the offer to employers elsewhere in the county. Initial courses will target small employers that are least able to afford commercial training rates, but positioned to benefit from the increased consumer demand for vehicle maintenance services; upskilling the workforce and safeguard jobs and small businesses in Harlow.
The improved facilities will also be used to offer community learning in electric vehicle operation and maintenance for local residents. Available as a series of 2-hour evening sessions, a community ‘live garage’ will offer electric vehicle care training to adults to raise awareness of the technology and support people purchasing electric vehicles. It aims to deliver learning workshops to 100 Harlow residents and through this, accelerate the purchase of EV and provide an entry point for adults interested in further automotive training.
The live garage is for local residents who have an EV or are thinking of a purchase and hopefully will bust a few myths about electric vehicles.