Posted: Thu 25th Nov 2021

Electric car mechanics course helping to meet future demand for “people who have the skills and knowledge” for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

“There will be a huge demand in the future for people who have the skills and the knowledge” in electric car mechanics, Wales’ first minister has said.

Mark Drakeford was speaking before a visit to Coleg Cambria’s Bersham Road campus yesterday (Wednesday 24 November) to meet some of the car mechanics of the future.

The students are currently enrolled on a Level 3 Motor Vehicle course which will enable them to access Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Technology.

As part of the course learners will be given the opportunity to enrol on a Level 3 City and Guilds qualification for the Repair and Servicing of Hybrid/Electric Vehicles.

They are able to do this at the Bersham site which is a cutting-edge facility combining the latest technology and equipment with interactive learning.

Speaking to ahead of his visit Mr Drakeford said the course is a “really excellent example of preparing early for something that’s going to be really important in the years to come.”

He said: “The UK Government has an ambitious plan to phase out the sale of new conventional cars within this decade.

“So there will be a huge demand in the future for people who have the skills and the knowledge to be able to deal with the things that will inevitably go wrong with whatever we will all be driving in 20 years time.

“It is a really excellent example of preparing early for something that’s going to be really important in the years to come.”

The course has been available since September this year and will help to increase the number of mechanics able to work on electric cars.

The Bersham site has also benefited from the Welsh Government’s 21st century schools and colleges programme with an investment of more than £13m.

Mr Drakeford said: “We need to do more in the next ten years than we’ve done in the last thirty if we’re to reach our NetZero target by 2050. Making the switch to an electric vehicle is one way that we can make a big difference.

“It is vital that we have the skills in Wales to maintain electric vehicles and it’s great to see this development at Coleg Cambria.

“We recently launched the Young Person’s Guarantee, a key commitment of this government. The aim of the guarantee is to provide everyone under 25 with the support to gain an offer of education, training, employment and self-employment.

“Working Wales is the single, easy access gateway to the Young Person’s Guarantee.

“The kind of forward-thinking course offered here in Coleg Cambria is an example of what is on offer for our young people.”

Asked what opportunities he thinks will be available to students and young people as Wales moves towards, NetZero, Mr Drakeford said referenced wind and tidal projects taking place in North Wales.

He said: “Climate change is a huge challenge and it will mean changes in the way we all live our lives.

“But we’ve got to find ways of turning it into economic opportunities particularly for for young people. If you can do that preparation and give young people the skills they need for the future.

“The real thing we’ve got to try and do our best to get right is not just to invest in the breakthrough technologies but when they get to a stage of being commercial, that we capture the jobs that go with that.”

Cambria’s Principal Sue Price said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the First Minister and show him around the modern and innovative facilities we have here at Bersham Road in Wrexham.

“Our electric and hybrid vehicle training facility was one of the first in the country and at the forefront of advances in the motor industry. Cambria will play a pivotal role in training the next generation of mechanics to meet a surge in demand for these skills, as the UK works towards the transition from petrol and diesel to fossil-free, zero-emission travel.

“The global focus on climate change and lowering our carbon footprint means we will use the technology we have at our disposal to lean into other areas and forge new partnerships that will make a positive difference to our environment for generations to come.

“To be able to demonstrate that to the First Minister was heartening for the staff and students here in Wrexham, and we thank him for his support.”

The First Minister also met with two enterprising young blacksmiths from Wrexham on his visit. Inspired by the family trade, cousins Ollie and Harvey Roberts, aged 13 and 12, from Borras were taught metalwork by their grandad, Anthony Roberts.

During the first lockdown in March, and using the new knowledge and skills they gained, they decided to start their own blacksmith business and have created a number of goods including brackets for hanging baskets and have renovated a go-kart.

The first minister said: “Ollie and Harvey are a real inspiration and it’s been a pleasure to hear about their achievements. I wish them very well for the future.

“It is vital that we foster the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs through the Young Person’s Guarantee. The young people that I have met today have been empowered with insights, skills and confidence that will enable them in the future for whatever challenges that lay ahead of them.”

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