Automotive firm secures European cash for electric car training scheme

A North East automotive repair firm has kick-started a scheme to deliver electric and hybrid vehicle (EV and HV) training to 90 staff. 

Blaydon-headquartered CF Motoring Services teamed up with Gateshead College to secure European Social Fund cash for the project, which will see people learn how to repair and restore EVs and HVs safely.

The move is designed to help CF Motoring Services become more competitive in the EV and HV recovery market as it looks to grow the business. The company already employs 190 staff across four sites and was included in the London Stock Exchange’s most recent annual list of the UK’s most inspiring firms.

The training programme will equip staff with the knowledge and skills required to work safely with EV and HV electrical systems while carrying out repair or maintenance work. They will also be able to spot any potential dangers and know what precautions to take to avoid potential injuries.  

Training will be carried out at Gateshead College’s Team Valley-based Skills Academy for Automotive, Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics, where CF Motoring Services staff will work in an authentic workshop environment with EV and HV test vehicles on site. On completion of the programme, the employees will become qualified EV and HV technicians and gain a level 2 or level 3 qualification recognised by the Institute of the Motor Industry.

The EV and HV training is the latest milestone in a long-standing partnership between Gateshead College and CF Motoring Services, which stretches back more than a decade. The college has recruited and trained all of the company’s apprentices for the last decade and carried out automotive competency-based tests on dozens of CF employees to ensure they are fit for the role. 

Bill Foreman, compliance manager at CF Motoring Services, said: “We need to have a team of skilled, knowledgeable staff if we are to remain a leader in our field. The growth in popularity of EVs and HVs means that there’s more of them on the road – and more of them to repair, maintain and recover.

“We’re proud to have a trusted training partner in Gateshead College and their expertise is now allowing us to broaden our skills base in the EV and HV market. That will hopefully help us win more business in the future and increase our standing in the industry.” 

The first tranche of employees has already completed the training, including 38-year-old Michael Howdon from Killingworth. Michael, who has been repairing vehicles in the motor trade for 20 years, said: “In this industry it’s vital to receive ongoing training as the rules and regulations on vehicle maintenance – particularly EVs and HVs – are constantly getting reviewed and updated. Working with Gateshead College has helped me to acquire the skills and competencies needed to carry out my day job safely and to a high standard.”

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, said: “Over the last decade our aim has been to help CF Motoring Services become more productive and competitive. The EV and HV training programme is designed to upskill the workforce and this will position the company for further growth in the future.

“We already work with several companies in the automotive industry and we’re committed to helping this vitally important sector grow and develop in the North East.”