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Car-makers welcome official EV qualifications

Vocational training modernised by Cert III in Automotive Electric Vehicle Technology

8 Feb 2022

SEVERAL automotive manufacturers have welcomed a move to upgrade the level of electric vehicle technology certification offered through vocational training institutions in Australia. 


Although the firms all have extensive internal training programs of their own, they recognise the importance of skilling up technicians to service, diagnose and repair battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and their components across the country. 


Last year, following extensive consultation with employers, industry representatives, employees, trainers and assessors, students and other stakeholders, PwC’s Skills for Australia proposed the introduction of a new qualification – Certificate III in Automotive Electric Vehicle Technology – along with two new units of competency.

Subsequently, in October 2021, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee reviewed – and approved – PwC’s Skills for Australia’s proposed training product (to ostensibly address a skills gap relating to the diagnosis and repair of electric vehicle powertrains) and referred it to the Skills Ministers for their endorsement.


Toyota, Hyundai and BMW were notably among the local car companies that had consulted with PwC regarding the proposed introduction of a new qualification – Certificate III in Automotive Electric Vehicle Technology (EVT) – during the previous year.


A spokesperson for Toyota Australia – the market leader and dominant force in the petrol-electric segment – told GoAuto that the company “fully supports the inclusion of formal qualifications to address current and future electrification technology”.


“It is important to ensure there are consistent industry standards applicable across every state and territory”, they said.


“PwC has sought our input on a range of issues, and we have willingly supported each consultation session.”


An MG Motor Australia and NZ representative described the Cert III training as “a tremendous start” and said the company was looking forward to a nationwide rollout of related training and education programs.


Volvo Car Australia said the new qualification “will provide a homogenous standard that allows apprentices to develop their skills and knowledge and be provided with a new and relevant qualification that most manufacturers and dealers will look for when recruiting into the future”.


“This will benefit Australian dealers who may (otherwise) look to overseas markets for suitably qualified candidates and keep careers in the Australian automotive industry relevant in an ever-changing consumer-goods market,” a Volvo spokesperson told GoAuto.


“Currently, EV training modules are optional modules as part of the third-year apprentices, but are mandatory for fourth-year apprentices,” they said.


“The new certification level should see aspects of this training included at a much earlier stage.”


BMW Group Australia said that as a fundamental, generic certificate, the development of a formal qualification was “a strong and positive start” that would lay the foundations to provide an understanding of high voltage technology”.


The company participated in the consultation with PwC, outlining its qualification requirements for high-voltage technicians and detailed the repairs they carried out on high-voltage systems and batteries.


With regards to broadening the general EV knowledge base, BMW said automotive bodies could assist in this area by developing curriculum for schools to drive engagement for students.


“Electric vehicles will be a major part of their lives in the future and starting the process of educating at that point would not only assist their understanding, but perhaps inspire them to get involved in the automotive industry,” a BMW Group spokesperson told GoAuto.


Hyundai also consulted with PwC and a senior member of its technical training organisation is a member of the industry reference committee for the light vehicle sector, which works with PwC to develop and review training packages.


Mercedes-Benz Australia said its commitment to developing EV knowledge across its entire workforce included a high-voltage (HV) training module for all staff at retail level, regardless of their specific roles, and training programs were designed to ensure that technicians at all levels would be exposed to HV topics.


“Future industry efforts in this space are welcomed, ideally ensuring that each state is working to the same requirements,” a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson said.


The proposed national Certificate III in EVT demonstrated that demand for combined expertise in ICE vehicles and EVs was increasing “and should be integral to the qualification programs for anyone hoping to work on both types of drivetrains,” Volvo Car Australia said.


MG’s position was that the qualification “could almost be deemed as essential to training future technicians”.


“It is not only EV and ICE tech – the combination of the two is equally important. Having both skillsets is crucial to future-proofing the next generation of technicians,” the MG spokesperson told GoAuto.


For its part, BMW Group Australia said it “fully supported the concept of training on ICE, PHEV and BEV from the beginning”.


“This will develop young talent from the outset, transitioning them into well rounded professionals for the future.”

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