The automotive industry is undergoing a major transformation, with the rise of electric vehicles (EVs) presenting challenges for the end-of-life vehicle (ELV) sector. In order to adapt to these changes, ELV businesses need to upskill their workforce and invest in new technologies.
In part three of the series, the Founder of ELV Training, Mark Jones, discusses the importance of upskilling in the ELV industry and provides some tips on how businesses can transition to a more sustainable future.
If businesses do not respond to change positively, then they quickly become irrelevant. No sector understands this better than the automotive industry. The UK’s decarbonisation plans have presented an overnight electric vehicle (EV) pandemic, with demand outstripping supply. Tesla has ensured it remains the leading EV manufacturer on the planet and the fifth-largest automaker by earnings globally through its ability to drive innovation, implement change efficiently, and refusal to rely on previous successes. However, vehicle manufacturers from Eastern Asia have also demonstrated an ability to rapidly implement change in response to market demands.
EV brands, including Nio, Airways, BYD, Dongfeng Motor, SAIC, and Great Wall, all launched in Europe last year and are leaving legacy vehicle Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) playing catch-up. They may not be household names here in the UK. Still, they are far from small or new to their respective markets, and they have forced Western manufacturers to speed up multibillion-dollar investment plans to electrify their ranges or run the risk of being left behind.
So, how is it that some car manufacturers manage to respond and adapt quickly to market changes whilst other businesses seemingly struggle? Well, there is no doubt that a culture that strives for innovation and transformation, supported by strong investment, is evident in all these organisations. Furthermore, the argument cannot be made that these businesses are relatively young and therefore do not suffer from issues relating to legacy business transformation, such as reconfiguring processes, retooling existing machinery, and re-skilling workers. Only two of the six East Asian makers mentioned here are “newer” businesses, with Nio (2014) and Airways (2017) both privately owned and having only ever manufactured electric vehicles. The remaining four are legacy businesses, having been around for decades building Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles for internal and foreign markets. These four companies all share a common acceptance that any innovation, investment, technological advancement, hardware implementation or process change doesn’t happen without first upskilling people.
Training is the key to unlocking and maximising the potential of any future business transformation. Failing to train people adequately leaves organisations vulnerable, unable to implement change, struggling to adapt, and ultimately at risk of losing market share. Although the vehicle manufacturing industry is highly automated, the people behind it still have to implement any change, where retraining and upskilling is as important as retooling. Furthermore, training provides an essential conduit for awareness – informing and engaging employees on the reasons for change as well as ensuring they have the necessary skills to keep pace.
Ultimately, these changes within the vehicle manufacturing industry directly impact how vehicles are processed at the end of their operating life. So, it is important that the ELV sector can respond and efficiently make any necessary change.
Electric vehicles and high voltage awareness additional education, tooling, equipment, and PPE. Structural HV battery packs provide the core integrity of newer vehicles, and thus, removal may not be possible using traditional depollution stands and lifting equipment. It is the responsibility of the ELV industry to embrace the necessary change and find solutions for safe and effective decommissioning.
Furthermore, this evolution has to occur in tandem with existing ICE depollution practices.
Upskilling is not just about being able to adapt to technological changes. Current market forces are the sector’s most urgent priority, with ATFs currently processing record numbers of ICE vehicles. With fuel prices now at an all-time high and EVs becoming more affordable globally (thanks in whole because of Eastern Asian EV car manufacturers), private and fleet owners alike are seeing less benefit in renewing with traditional ICE vehicles.
According to DVLA data, there are currently 17 million cars and vans on our roads that are ten years old or more, and thus we can safely anticipate that these will become ELVs and will be decommissioned at some point over the next five years. The current 1,951 ATFs in the UK process an average of 1.5 million vehicles per year. However, this is going to need to increase dramatically, to nearly 3.5 million per year, to meet record demand.
Any solution to this immediate issue is going to involve significant change from within the vehicle dismantling sector. It’s likely the industry will need a combination of both an increase in the number of registered ATFs throughout the UK, as well as retraining current and future depollution and dismantling operatives on how to become more efficient at processing ELVs.
Businesses such as ELV Training are here to support change within the vehicle recycling industry, driving efficiency in current processes and meeting the needs of existing and future business transformation. We achieve this by building competence and capability within your workforce and ensuring that your people have access to the necessary training to succeed. Our ethos is to ensure all vehicle treatment facilities, regardless of size and budget, benefit from the best the sector has to offer.
We are focused on sharing industry best practice, standardisation, leveraging the latest technology and techniques, and ensuring your people are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to do this essential work safely, compliantly, and efficiently.
Whether an organisation is looking to establish a training foundation for new ELV technicians, wishing to increase the capability of existing operators, or looking to educate line managers and supervisors alike, we are confident that our programmes will deliver.
We currently provide 28 online training courses and two full qualification routes, covering a wide spectrum of ELV disciplines and with a syllabus built around the newly published IMI’s National Occupational Standards (NOS) for vehicle dismantlers.
NOS represent the gold standard of performance within the dismantling sector, developed using an industry-wide consensus of what is deemed both essential and best practice, and ELV Training is proud to be the first in the UK to have developed this comprehensive syllabus from the ground up, solely to meet the demands of the vehicle recycling industry.
Our training ensures organisations can anticipate future challenges and build both capability and competence in order to navigate future growth successfully. With NOS at the very core of our curriculum and ELV Training’s expert support for the journey ahead, your business will never run the risk of being left behind.
To read Mark’s previous articles in this series, click on the following links: