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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Hundreds of thousands of young people needed to train as electricians

The Business Magazine article image for: Hundreds of thousands of young people needed to train as electricians
ProtoEV Action
18 June 2024
ProtoEV Action

The UK is going to need hundreds of thousands of new electricians as the world races towards greater electrification, and the earlier they learn about the opportunities, the more likely they are to want to join the sector when they are looking at career opportunities.

Deepak Farmah, Head of Innovation at Coventry University and Commercial Director of the National Electric Revolution Skills Hub (ERS Hub), wants to inspire young people early through an integrated digital platform to provide access to training, development, and jobs in an electrified and greener future.

The platform has brought together education, training providers, employers and the future workforce all in one place, and with clear routes to courses and jobs.

The big challenge now, as he sees it, is to reach out to young people at primary and secondary schools, colleges and hard-to-reach youth groups to get them excited about the world of electrification as a diverse and inclusive sector.

“It is still a fledgling industry. The career paths and the type of jobs available are difficult enough to understand for adults, let alone young people trying to work out what the future holds,” explained Deepak.

“In a Gigafactory alone there are more than 17 different roles you can aspire to, whilst in PEMD (the power electronics, machines and drives industry), they range from motor engineer and design lead through to testing and validation. Our role is about showcasing these and demystifying how to get there.

"We’ve already started this work, with the aim of engaging with tens of thousands of pupils and hundreds of schools and groups already, but this is just the beginning.

“Our experts have been attending career fairs, industry events, launching podcasts and providing curiosity boxes to educational establishments. These are a great way to start the conversation and encourage young people to build a motor from scratch following a simple lesson plan that can be delivered by any teacher – not just a STEM one.”

The ERS Hub, co-funded by Coventry University and UKRI, is keen to support more STEM-related activities at grassroots levels and recently threw its weight behind ProtoEV, the ultimate motorsport competition for schools, colleges, youth clubs and apprentices in the UK.

Organised by the Blair Project, five youth teams from South London spent twelve weeks of work and testing to retrofit a fully electric e-kart, before putting it through its paces to try to claim the fastest lap at TRAQ Motor Racing in Croydon.

Leaways School took the first prize for its combined efforts on design, innovation, teamwork and speed, with Liam Palmer also securing the best teacher award. Oasis Play’s two teams finished second and third, as well as claiming the fastest lap accolade.

Experts from the ERS Hub joined Formula 1, Teamsport Karting and Innovate UK in a career session to raise awareness of possible jobs and careers in electrification.

“By providing hands-on experience in clean tech, we not only equip young people with essential skills but also ignite their passion for sustainable solutions and diversity in engineering. Witnessing their creativity and determination reassures me that the future of motorsports and clean technology is in capable and diverse hands,” added Deepak.

Richard Lane, Product Development Director at the ERS Hub, said: “Events like the ProtoEV Challenge are crucial in inspiring the next generation of engineers and innovators.

“Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is a major focus. We want to start conversations with youngsters from different backgrounds, who may not have access to mainstream career advice or opportunities.

“That is the only way we are going to create the pipeline of talent the UK is going to need to grasp the opportunity of electrification. Reducing barriers to entry is key and – the next generation can’t do it, if they can’t see their own path to get there.”

ERS Hub is in the early stages of its grassroots journey and the longer-term plan involves ‘educating the educators on the opportunities’ and pressing the button on a more youth-friendly platform that will appeal to young people.


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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