SA training push to serve growing electric vehicle market

State Government funding has been announced to equip apprentices and mechanics with the skills to inspect and maintain electric vehicles, following rising demand industry-wide.

Jan 19, 2023, updated Jan 19, 2023
Left to right: MTA CEO Darrell Jacobs, Minister Blair Boyer and MTA head trainer Steve Richardson at BYD Medindie, an EV dealership. Supplied image

Left to right: MTA CEO Darrell Jacobs, Minister Blair Boyer and MTA head trainer Steve Richardson at BYD Medindie, an EV dealership. Supplied image

Two accredited courses for battery and hybrid electric vehicles will be subsidised by the state government and will be offered by a number of Registered Training Organisations including the Motor Trade Association.

Participants in the courses will learn how to safely work on the vehicles.

The courses are being subsidised to “ensure more qualified mechanics and new apprentices are equipped with the skills they need, as demand for the new automotive technologies continues to increase globally,” the government says.

The average subsidy payment to a training provider delivering these courses will be about $950 per student for a course that will usually go for a few days.

Minister for Education, Training and Skills, Blair Boyer said more South Australians are opting to purchase electric vehicles.

“Upskilling our existing workforce and providing new apprentices with the tools they need to work on emerging technologies has become increasingly important,” Boyer said.

“We want South Australia to be ready to meet growing consumer needs  and keep up with this shift across Australia and around the world.”

In November, the MTA warned that “an uncoordinated and ad-hoc transition will lead to worse outcomes for both automotive businesses and consumers” after the federal government released its National Electric Vehicle Strategy Consultation Paper.

The MTA looks forward to helping shape this National Strategy underpinned by sensible and balanced policies. The consultation provides a chance for everybody to have their say on a consistent framework to increase the supply and uptake of electric vehicles.

— Motor Trade Association of SA/NT (@MTAofSANT) September 28, 2022

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In its submission, it warned that it was “essential that not-for-profit training institutions, like the MTA, who are at the forefront of electric vehicle training are supported”.

“The Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC) undertook modelling that showed Australia will need about 7300 qualified EV technicians by 2030 to meet a growing EV fleet. With current growth rates of EV-qualified technicians there will be a shortfall of approximately 6000 technicians,” the submission read.

A rising number of car manufacturers have committed to only producing electric vehicles between 2030-2040, including Volvo, Audi, and Volkswagen.

Head trainer at the MTA Steve Richardson welcomed the new subsidies and said courses would be invaluable in teaching mechanics about safety when working on EVs.

“It’s good, I know they’ve been pushing the uptake of EVs a lot in Europe, and it’s definitely the right thing to do,” Richardson said.

“The propulsion systems are completely different to a regular car. We know what goes on in EVs but safety-wise you won’t get a second chance with the high voltage present.

“These programs will teach them [participants] about all that safety, which they need to know.”


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