If you’ve always considered yourself a capable backyard mechanic, but over the years have come to realize that your toolbox and old school skills don’t keep up with the latest vehicle technologies, you’re not alone. In fact, automotive technician professionals and the companies that employ them would argue that they feel your pain.
That’s true perhaps even more so today, in large part because the EV population is growing at a rapid pace. With that comes the need for new types of skill sets, new tools, and new training, for vehicle repair facilities and their technicians.
How can you attract EV technicians to your shop?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, employment of automotive service technicians is projected to show little or no change from 2021 to 2031. However, despite limited employment growth, BLS projects the need to replace an average of 73,300 technicians each year over the decade as workers retire or leave the industry for other reasons.
Demographic data can help explain what’s happening and the challenge it presents. Zippia, an online employment and recruiting services provider, puts the average age of automotive technicians at 40 years old. Moreover, half are older than 40 and 25% are between the ages of 30 and 40 years.
Considering those numbers and the BLS projection, it is easy to see how openings for technicians will result. The data itself points to a generational shift, and while that may seem like bad news, it might also reveal an opportunity. Here’s how:
Advanced technology found in EVs, as well as the tools needed to diagnose, service and repair them, can be an attraction to younger technicians. Already familiar and comfortable with electronics, they could see the diagnostics they require, including AI and virtual reality solutions, as a reason to consider a career in EV maintenance.
How can technicians get trained up on EVs?
Shops providing EV maintenance and repair services can already access technician training from numerous sources, and the list is growing. Some of the programs include:
- Ford Motor Company and its dealers have launched the Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET) initiative. The collaboration with select community colleges and technical schools at a growing number of locations will incorporate Ford EV curriculum and a Ford instructor-led class on Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Operation and Diagnosis. The manufacturer has also provided EVs to ASSET locations so students can receive hands-on training.
- Toronto-based George Brown College offers a self-paced online certificate program for automotive technicians interested in EV technical training. Areas of study include troubleshooting EV power electronic devices, sensors and actuators, EV powertrains, high voltage EV safety systems, and battery packs and management systems.
- The Clean Tech Institute is offering a 16-week Electric Vehicle Technician Curriculum. Topics covered include High Voltage Electrical Safety, Electric Propulsion Sensing Systems, Transaxles, Gears and Cooling Systems, Battery Management Systems, Electric Car and Hybrid Climate Control Systems, and Basic Electric Car Maintenance.
With exponential growth in EV use there is greater and increasing demand for technicians able to repair and service these vehicles. Going forward now with efforts to attract and train EV technicians will help ensure you have the expertise your customers need in the future.