Incorporating Technical Change Through Employee Training
It’s hard to believe that the Toyota Prius, the first mass produced hybrid car, has been around since 2000, and that the fully electric Nissan Leaf has been on UK roads for over ten years. More recently, Tesla’s Model 3 has dominated EV sales, but even they can no longer be referred to as the new kids, with their Model S and Model X having been on sale for eight and six years respectively. Unsurprisingly, many of these vehicles have already reached the end of their life, finding their way to treatment centres to be depolluted and dismantled.
The UK car market has been making a steady transition towards electric over the last decade, and as a result there are now around 477,000 electric vehicles on UK roads and more than 790,000 plug-in hybrids. EV growth continues to gather pace as the UK’s charging infrastructure improves, the government’s decarbonisation plans accelerate, and traditional petrol and diesel vehicles are phased out.
The industry is now facing its greatest challenge as it incorporates the biggest technological change since the invention of the internal combustion engine. That’s why now is the perfect time for it to rethink its approach towards ELV recruitment, induction training and continuing professional development. Investment in training is a statement of intent to ensure your vehicle dismantling and recycling business remains ahead of the competition and relevant in the future.
Being able to safely decommission electric and hybrid powered vehicles, alongside traditional ICE vehicles is not straightforward. Yes, many components including steering, brakes and operating fluids remain the same, but high voltage lithium-ion batteries and their systems present additional challenges. In order to work safely and compliantly with newer technologies, the industry must adopt additional standards, legislation, safe systems of work, as well as incorporating high voltage training alongside current depollution and recycling practices. Depollution stations may require redesign or adaption, depollution lanes may well need to be adopted with specific activities requiring complete separation from each other.
This will require ATFs not only to develop new processes and upskill their workforce, but also acquire additional specialist tools and equipment. In general, the vehicle recycling industry acknowledges that things will need to change to ensure EV decommissioning can be safely incorporated. However, what seems to be less apparent, is recognition of the knock-on effect of this electric transition, and that’s the unprecedented numbers of ICE vehicles that will require decommissioning. The vehicle recycling industry should already be asking itself do we have the capacity and capability to meet this increased demand as consumers make the switch to cleaner technologies?
Currently, we believe not. In general, the sector has and continues to experience, a high employee turnover, with treatment and dismantling facilities historically struggling to recruit and retain ELV operatives, resulting in a cycle that leaves employers unable to recover training and recruitment expenses after employment ends. This attrition is often overlooked but is costing the industry hundreds of thousands of pounds per annum. This money is being needlessly poured down the recruitment drain when it would be far better spent investing in training, technology, machinery and tooling, all that would go on to drive efficiencies as well as addressing the revolving door of attrition and recruitment. Apprenticeships are absolutely a part of the solution, helping to attract and support a future talent pipeline, but sadly they alone cannot address the retention issues. There simply aren’t enough MRGO apprenticeships available, not to mention the programme takes a full 12 months to complete. We need to develop skilled manpower and we need it as soon as possible.
This is where ELV Training is on hand to support the industry. Our business has one aim - to support the vehicle recycling industry, by building competence and capability within it. With 28 training courses and two qualifications available covering a wide spectrum of ELV disciplines and a syllabus built completely around the newly published IMI's National Occupational Standards for vehicle dismantlers, you can be confident that our training framework meets all your business needs. Built by the industry for the industry, reflecting current ELV legislation, incorporating the latest best practice and demonstrated using the latest equipment.