Everyone involved in the Irish motor industry, is all too well aware of the shortage of skilled labour across all sectors. However, the problem is more acute in certain new technology areas, where a lack of trained technicians, could have a major impact on safety.
One particular area of concern is Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and this has been highlighted by the Institute of the Motor Industry in the UK, who say if not addressed, the situation will undermine both safety and mobility.
The IMI says that 5% of the car parc feature level 2 autonomy, where the vehicle can control acceleration, braking, and steering, and there are currently only 3,000 technicians with IMI TechSafe qualifications to work on such vehicles. It estimates that by 2030, some 44% of cars will have level 2 ADAS, with the implication that over 100,000 ADAS qualified technicians will be required. Even with extensive training, the institute predicts that the industry will only be able to achieve half of this target, leaving a very concerning shortfall.
Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry, said, “It is no exaggeration to say that it is a matter of life and death that these technologically advanced vehicles are maintained, only by fully qualified technicians. The skills need is immediate, with such a significant proportion of cars already using Level 2 autonomy. It is also critical to recognise the serious economic impact of the skills gap. A lack of a qualified workforce, means delays in vehicle repairs, undermining UK mobility.”
With the average age of cars in Ireland at 8.8 years, compared with 10 years in the UK, it's fair to say that the Irish automotive market could face this problem even earlier. Based on relative car populations, Ireland would require some 6,000 ADAS trained technicians by 2030. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that the market is likely to fall well short of this figure.
ADAS does represent a massive area of future business potential, not just in accident repair and windscreen replacement, but increasingly for mechanical workshops. This means that businesses that invest in equipment and training now could reap significant benefits in the future.