Rapid changes in the automotive market are having an impact on the training of automotive technicians. Tartu Vocational College has joined the Auto-COVE consortium to develop centres of excellence for a new generation of automotive repair and maintenance.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, sales of electric cars grew by 28 percent last year, with more than 1.1 million electric cars sold in Europe. Sales of electric and hybrid cars are also growing in Estonia. Electric cars accounted for 6.5% of all new cars sold in July and hybrid cars for 39.1%.

According to Raini Jõks, Director of the College, VOCO’s aim is to keep pace with the fast-changing times and support the teaching and learning of new skills. “By 2030, more than three out of five vehicles in Europe should have a power socket, and all of them will need maintenance and repair. In short, we need to update the content and materials used to train car technicians at the same pace and scale to ensure that electric and hybrid cars on the road are maintained and repaired to the same standard.”

With the need for newly qualified car technicians across Europe, schools and companies from Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, the Netherlands and France have formed a consortium to develop new curricula and teaching materials for the repair and maintenance of electric, hybrid and hydrogen cars. In each country, centres of excellence will be set up on to support the spread of skills, both in vocational training and among car technicians that already working.

Tartu Vocational College is partnered with Toyota Baltics. “The modernisation of the electrified car repair and maintenance specialisations in a rapidly changing environment is a worthwhile and necessary step. It is important that young people leave school with the knowledge and skills that will help them succeed in their future careers. As an importer, we have a good opportunity to contribute to the learning path of young people with an interest in technology and engineering by advising the school on the nuances of the maintenance and repair needs of electrified cars,” explains Eva Ainsoo, Training Manager at Toyota Baltic AS.

The Auto-COVE consortium launched the Centres of Excellence project in June and its activities are planned for four years.This will include the renewal of curricula in both vocational and higher education, as well as the creation and implementation of new teaching materials. During this period, more than 100 teachers in the Centres of Excellence will receive in-service training, apprenticeship programmes will be organised and in-service training will be provided for existing car technicians.

Rapid changes in automotive apprenticeships are needed to meet the European Green Deal targets for a switch to electric and hybrid cars and a ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2035. In practice, Member States need to step up rapidly both the development of charging infrastructure and the teaching of new green skills.

See more info about the Auto-COVE project