The New South Wales government has announced a new scheme to retrain motor mechanics so that they can work on electric vehicles, as it ramps up the electrification of its bus network.
Over the next decade the NSW government plans to replace its entire network of 8,000 buses with zero emissions vehicles – which could include both battery EVs and hydrogen fuel cell buses.
The scheme to retrain mechanics to work on these new buses will be run as a partnership betwen Volvo Australia and TAFE NSW. It will take the form of short courses to help mechanics upskill and work safely with the new technology.
Announcing the scheme on Thrusday, NSW Skills and Tertiary Education Minister Geoff Lee said: “The adoption of electric buses introduces a new range of skills needs that we must address, such as working with high voltage systems and understanding the way vehicles are built, operated, and serviced.”
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said: “With the NSW government’s commitment to introduce more electric buses, the number of workers who need to be retrained and upskilled to support these vehicles is growing.”
General Manager of Volvo Bus Australia Mitch Peden said the courses would “set a standard in the industry”.
“We see the need for a national approach to training, skills and certification of staff, and are delighted to be partnering with TAFE NSW on these new programs.
“Our operator partners and industry have done a fantastic job in recent years delivering safe public transport – now we have an opportunity to lift safety standards even further,” he said.
James Fernyhough is a reporter at RenewEconomy and The Driven. He has worked at The Australian Financial Review and the Financial Times, and is interested in all things related to climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.