Fleet News

SMH Fleet Solutions and Northgate bolster EV training

SMH Fleet Solutions is rolling-out skills training at its sites across the UK to ensure technicians are qualified on the latest electric vehicle (EV) technologies, while Northgate has also announced it is delivering EV training for vans to more than 1,500 staff.

SMH Fleet Solutions has partnered with RWC, a training provider based in Milton Keynes, to deliver the learning and development programme.

The move comes as the company is increasing EV charging capability across its sites.

Mark Elliott, quality director at SMH Fleet Solutions, said: “With EV volumes rising both in-life and at de-fleet, it’s essential that our teams across the UK have the skills to enable them to work safely and efficiently with all kinds of electric vehicles.

“The EV training is part of a company-wide programme of improvement to create a best-in-class performance.”

At the end of the training course, technicians will receive an Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) qualification for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The company said the training provides in-depth knowledge and practical experience in this specialised industry sector and will enable maintenance and repair technicians to work safely on any electric and hybrid vehicle, as well as offer the capability to work on high voltage components and systems.

The company has recently invested in new technology platforms across the group to help drive greater operational efficiency, said SMH, and it has also restructured its commercial and IT operations.

SMH Fleet Solutions appointed James Starling as new chief commercial officer (CCO), as part of the restructure.

NORTHGATE DELIVERS EV TRAINING

Northgate has also announced it is delivering EV training for vans to more than 1,500 of its people, to help maximise safety and help customers choose the most suitable EV and traditional vehicles to meet their business needs.

The company said by the end of March, at least one technician from all 52 of Northgate’s workshops will have completed an IMI Level 3 TechSafe EV course. The course covers the principles and benefits of EVs, as well as an assessment of technicians' skills in safely powering down vehicles.

A further 300 technicians, workshop managers, and controllers from Northgate will complete the course over the next 12 months.

Northgate's Online Learning and Development Academy is also launching a suite of online EV awareness modules, equivalent to IMI level 1, aimed at around 1,400 non-technical staff across the business. The aim is to support colleagues in providing the most suitable advice, service and understanding to customers.

The vehicle rental company said it also working in partnership with manufacturers to deliver additional apprenticeships, which include training on EVs.

It comes as the IMI warns that a skills shortage within EVs threatens progress on the Government’s Green Plan.

Steve Scofield, head of business development at the IMI, said: "It is tremendously exciting to see that Northgate is making such a serious commitment to the EV training of its people.

"Playing such a crucial role in supporting the fleet sector and the wider business community of van users, the company is showing real leadership in being ready for the electric revolution and, based on the numbers it is training, is currently one of the biggest adopters of IMI TechSafeTM EV training in the LCV sector.

“The IMI has made no secret of our concern that EV training has not been prioritised to date; analysis at the end of 2020 suggested that just 5% of the technicians working in garages and dealerships are appropriately qualified to work on these vehicles.

"The scale of the Northgate commitment should, therefore, send a strong signal to the automotive sector as a whole that now is the time to get their workforce EV-ready.”

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