The first ever apprenticeship dedicated to electric vehicles (EVs) is launched today in North East England.
The four year course will see young people train at Smith Electric Vehicles, the world’s leading manufacturer of electric vans and trucks. The scheme combines workplace training at Smith’s headquarters in Washington, Tyne & Wear, with education at Gateshead College.
Geoff Allison, managing director of Smith Electric Vehicles, said: “If Britain is going to become a world leader in the production of electric vehicles, we have to start training the next workforce generation now.
“Smith Electric Vehicles has always invested in apprentices, but we are particularly proud to be leading the way in the development of the specialised skills our young people will need in the low carbon economy.”
The course will see learners completing a Level 3 framework, the equivalent to three A Levels. Apprentices will gain practical, work-based knowledge and skills through an NVQ Level3 in Engineered Systems and a City & Guilds Level 3 in Engineering, along with functional and key skills. They will then have the unique opportunity to progress onto a Foundation Degree in Engineering, Maintenance Operations or Electric Vehicles.
Mick Brophy, managing director for Business, Innovation and Development at Gateshead College, said: “It’s estimated that by 2020 they’ll be up to 400,000 new ‘green’ jobs in the UK.
“By identifying, developing and delivering specialist training in these emerging green technologies, we’re at the forefront of being able to successfully equip the region’s workforce with the skills they need to meet this demand.
“The partnership with Smith Electric Vehicles forms a significant part of this work and we’re delighted to be the first college to develop this unique framework and offer an apprenticeship in electric vehicles.
“In Smith, we have found a partner with real foresight. Together we are creating a course that can be a blueprint for low carbon vehicle training across the UK.”
As part of the partnership, Smith is donating vehicle chassis and components to Gateshead College, worth in excess of £100,000. Smith will provide a dedicated mentor on site and Gateshead College will reciprocate with a single lead engineer conducting all classroom training.
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