University of Warwick: Challenges of transport electrification skills to be addressed by Universities of Warwick and Newcastle

Two leading universities in the field of electrification – WMG at the University of Warwick and Newcastle University – are coming together to ensure the UK workforce has the skills necessary to meet the challenges of the transition to fully electric production.Caption: A battery pouch made at WMG, University of Warwick Credit: WMG, University of Warwick

As anchor higher education institutions with exceptional research and innovation programmes operating in regions at the forefront of the UK’s electric revolution, the universities intend the collaboration will enable the growth of a talent pipeline of graduates and postgraduates into UK business. Led by WMG at the University of Warwick and Zero Carbon Futures at Newcastle University part of the school of engineering, the effort will identify the people, skills and facilities needed across a range of academic disciplines and levels in order to deliver new curriculums to meet growing industry demand.

The UK’s move to fully electric vehicle production and domestic battery manufacturing represents the largest shift in industrial skills for the UK in a generation, leaving competency gaps at all job levels, particularly in engineering and manufacturing roles which will need to be filled with specific education and training. The Faraday Institution estimates that to meet automotive production demand by 2040, an additional 70,000 skilled employees will be needed for battery manufacture and in the associated material supply chain.Caption: A battery production line at WMG, University of Warwick Credit: WMG, University of Warwick

“In light of COP26, which stressed the need for electrification to help us combat climate change and reach Net Zero goals, it is imperative that researchers and industry work together to bridge the gaps and create a smooth transition to electrification,” commented Dr Benjamin Silverstone from WMG, University of Warwick. “We are delighted to be working with Newcastle University and believe that together we can define what and who needs upskilling, reskilling and new-skilling.”

Professor Colin Herron CBE, Zero Carbon Futures at Newcastle University and Faraday Institution North East regional liaison said, “The bringing together of the two leading universities in electrification, located in the two regions leading on transport electrification is an exciting prospect, and one which should deliver the skills required for massive challenges ahead.”

“We fully support this collaboration between two powerhouse institutions working at the forefront of electrification,” said Professor Pam Thomas, CEO, The Faraday Institution. “Such innovative partnerships will enable the UK to anticipate and deliver the skills needed to fully electrify transport, grow new talent for battery production, and support green growth and economic development.”

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