Car mechanics students upskill to work with electric and hybrid vehicles

Mechanics from a number of businesses who completed an Institute of the Motor Industry Level 2 Award in Electric/Hybrid Vehicles Routine Maintenance Activities at Northern Regional College’s Newtownabbey Campus.

NORTHERN Regional College has introduced a series of short accredited courses to upskill motor mechanics in response to the growing number of electric and hybrid cars on the road.

The College is offering the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Level 2 Award in Electric/Hybrid Vehicles Routine Maintenance Activities to mechanics.

The programme was initially only offered at the College’s Newtownabbey campus however, in response to growing demand, it has been extended to its Ballymena campus.

To date, the College has trained 29 local mechanics who have all achieved the award.

With electric and hybrid cars now accounting for 10% of sales across the UK, Ray Scott, Motor Vehicle lecturer at Northern Regional College, said: “There is a growing need for specific training to enable professionals within the industry to carry out maintenance, servicing or repair work on these vehicles.

“This Level 2 award has been designed to raise awareness of issues associated with servicing hybrid and electric vehicles. The courses are relevant for garage owners, mechanics, as well as first responders who may come across a road accident involving a hybrid vehicle,” he said.

Ray added: “Hybrid cars have high-voltage electrical systems so there are some critical safety procedures that must be adhered to, which is why specialist training is so important.

“A hybrid vehicle battery voltage is much higher and therefore more powerful than a standard car battery.

“The high voltage battery charging system control is designed to start the engine by itself as required during vehicle operation which would be unexpected and potentially very dangerous for mechanics.

“If a mechanic does not know the correct procedure to isolate the batteries before beginning to work on the car, high voltage systems remain live which could endanger the mechanic or damage the car.”

The Level 2 Award in Electric/Hybrid Vehicle Maintenance is delivered by Northern Regional College through Skills Focus which is funded by the Department for the Economy as part of a drive to upskill workers to meet changing demands in the work environment.

Eligible companies can receive 75% towards the cost of training which can be delivered over five evenings or two full days.

The next Electric/Hybrid Vehicle Maintenance course at Northern Regional College is scheduled to start later this month.

To enrol, email Cheryl.McNeill@nrc.ac.uk or any member of the College’s Business Support Team.

Northern Regional College offers a range of full time, part time and apprenticeship programmes in car maintenance. For further information, go to www.nrc.ac.uk

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