The Motor Traders’ Association of New South Wales (MTA NSW) is calling for government support amid concerns the service and repair industry will be left “severely underprepared” to meet 2030 electric vehicle targets.
The industry association says there are 49,000 auto workers in NSW that need to be upskilled to safely service and repair EVs.
The NSW Government is working towards a goal of EVs accounting for 52 per cent of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030, with the “vast majority” of new car sales being EVs by 2035.
The Australian Government has gone further, with a target of 89 per cent electric vehicle sales by 2030.
But the MTA NSW, which is launching its training program later this month, says there’s a lack of available training places and an overall shortfall of 38,000 skilled professionals nationally within the automotive sector.
Based on the expected growth of the EV sector, it estimates Australia will need an additional 14,000 qualified EV technicians by 2030.
It says the cost to upskill the NSW auto workforce alone is estimated at around $100 million.
To work on EVs, mechanics and auto electricians must undertake specialised safety training.
The MTA NSW says a full course could cost up to $3000 per person, with small businesses typically having to foot these bills in addition to investing in upgraded infrastructure to service EVs. It notes 97 per cent of businesses in this industry are small businesses.
In addition to an investment in the sector by the New South Wales Government, the MTA NSW is calling for changes to skilled migration.
It wants the state government, in conjunction with the Department of Home Affairs, to overhaul the current skilled migration list for NSW and help attract overseas talent to the state, particularly regional areas.
It’s also calling for more robust recycling procedures for EV batteries and for an “end-of-life strategy” to be implemented for internal combustion vehicles “to ensure that these vehicles are sustainably disposed of in order to protect our environment”.
Other recommendations it has made include:
- A new licensing category that reflects the licensee is qualified to work on and repair EVs
- A simpler pathway for recognition of overseas qualifications
- Mutual recognition of all training provided by OEM courses
- A re-evaluation and clearer regulations for EV grey imports
“Our industry is already battling a skills shortage and as we face arguably what is the biggest transition in our sector’s history, it’s crucial that specialist training in electric car and battery maintenance is prioritised to ensure the safety of everyone that works on an EV as well as to mitigate driver risks,” said MTA NSW CEO Stavros Yallouridis.
“The current system and availability of training is inadequate and we’re calling on the incoming NSW Government to help fund more EV training across the state to prepare our workforce.
“With the vast number of EVs due to hit the market between now and 2050, recycling procedures must be implemented now to deal with the influx of end-of-life cars and damaged batteries.
“Materials within EV batteries can be both caustic and dangerous, so the storage and transportation of used EV batteries must be addressed to protect our environment and ensure the smooth introduction of EVs in the marketplace.”
The next state election in New South Wales is set for 25 March, 2023.
The MTA NSW is a state-based industry body representing 28 different motor trades. It’s also the second largest provider of training in NSW, with over 2000 students and 40 trainers across the state.