Helping the unemployed plug the skills gap

Dozens of unemployed Newcastle residents are to be given the chance to develop new careers by plugging the skills gap that is emerging from the burgeoning low carbon economy.

Forecasts predict that within the next eight years approximately 10 percent of all road-going vehicles will be electric or hybrid and the North East is a test bed for the technological development and introduction of electric vehicles.

Work by Newcastle Science City’s dedicated skills researcher, working within the community engagement team, has identified potential skills shortages within the industry, ranging from manufacture and charging point installation right through to maintenance, repair and servicing.

Now we have launched a ground-breaking project to get unemployed residents ‘work-ready’ in industries where regional employers, including Nissan and Smith Electric Vehicles, forecast a shortage in skills.

The collaboration project brings together vocational skills provider Building Futures East and charity JET with electric vehicle sector training provider Group Horizon and the state-of-the-art electric vehicle training facilities at Gateshead College. Over the course of the project 40 unemployed residents will receive training and introduction to potential employers, with 10-12 percent of these guaranteed a work placement on completion of their training.

Nick Powell, community engagement officer at Newcastle Science City, said: “This exciting project is ensuring we put to use the in-depth understanding we have of the skills shortages that exist in the North East. We are using our connections to the third sector and training providers to create a critical mass of people who are aware of the opportunities emerging from the low carbon vehicle industry and who have the appropriate skills to work in these markets.”