Tuesday, June 8, 2010

UK Sees First Electric Vehicle Apprenticeship Scheme Launched

Mechanics of the Future Get a Chance to Train with Smiths
Shipping News Feature

UK – Smith Electric Vehicles, leading producers of electric commercial vehicles, have launched the first ever apprentice scheme aimed specifically at working with electrically powered cars, vans and trucks. As more and more freight firms and local authorities change over to the new technology it is envisaged there may well be a gap in the market for fitters, mechanics and design engineers properly qualified in all aspects of electric traction technology.

The four-year course combines workplace training at Smith’s headquarters in Washington, Tyne & Wear, with education at Gateshead College.The brand new, nationally-recognised 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.

In the spirit 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. Smith expects to take on six apprentices in 2010, out of classroom of 16. Entry criteria include Maths GCSE at A* - B grade, plus grades A* - C in English, a Science and at least one other GCSE. Applicants will also undergo psychometric testing.

There will be an open morning for prospective candidates at its Vigo Centre facility in Birtley Road, Washington, on Tuesday, June 22nd, 9am – 12 noon. For further details, or to book a place at the open day, please contact Cathy Homer, HR Officer, on 0191 461 6807 or email cathy.homer@smithelectricvehicles.com.

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.”

Geoff Allison, Managing Director of Smith Electric Vehicles, commented:

“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.”