Business leaders from across the West Midlands were given a glimpse into the region’s zero-carbon future at the launch of a new skills campaign from Coventry College that will prepare the workforce for emission-free motoring.
Representatives from the automotive, manufacturing and construction industries heard plans to upskill the workforce and discussed collaborative opportunities as Coventry College previewed its new £1.8m electric vehicle and retrofit training centre for the first time.
The event, which was held at the College’s Motor Vehicle facility, saw Principal and CEO Carol Thomas and James Sampson from REVAMP Ltd detail the College’s Charge Up Your Future campaign to visitors from the West Midlands Combined Authority, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and CWLEP Growth Hub, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and a host of car retailers and electric vehicle, charging and battery producers.
The campaign will see Coventry College build a dedicated training facility worth £1.8m and deliver a range of education programmes to deliver specialist training to students and the wider workforce to capitalise on retrofitting and construction opportunities.
The new facility, which will be the first of its kind in Coventry and Warwickshire, is expected to open in March 2022 and has been made possible through capital investment from the Government’s Strategic Development Fund (SDF).
The campaign will be delivered under the Skills Accelerator programme, which is a key part of the Government’s blueprint for reshaping the technical skills system – with a total of £5m awarded to Coventry and Warwickshire colleges to ensure the region’s educational provision meets the demand for skills.
The specialist programmes will include training around Electric and Hybrid Vehicles; Battery Development and Deployment; Hydrogen Awareness; Electric Vehicle Charging Points; Retrofitting Buildings; Domestic Energy Assessment; and Photovoltaics, which is the conversion of light into electricity.
Gemma Knott, Vice Principal for Business Growth, Engagement and Partnerships at Coventry College, said: “We were delighted to see so many local business leaders and industry professionals join us at this event to hear about the fantastic plans we have to boost the region’s zero-carbon capabilities.
“Our plans will have a material impact on manufacturers, whose workforce will require skills to keep up with demand as vehicle electrification ramps up, EV retailers, who face a similar challenge, and anyone working or living in the region over the next 10 years or so, who will require expertise to meet their needs as consumers.
“We have been blown away by the enthusiasm and support we have seen for our Charge Up Your Future campaign, and look forward to putting these plans into action and collaborating with partners across the region.”
Pictured (Left to right) Sarah Windrum (CWLEP), Shaun Hall and Lynsey Ellis (West Midlands Combined Authority), Glenn Smailes (Coventry City Council), Carol Thomas (Principal, Coventry College), John Norton (Coventry City Council)