22 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

“Eye off the ball” on ADAS says IMI as EV upskilling steals focus.

The increasing prevalence of ADAS on vehicles, and a lack of enough training in this area means the industry is 18,000 technicians short of the number needed to work on cars already on the road, a report from the IMI has revealed.

The mew IMI TechSafe Report has estimated that by the end of this year, at least one in ten cars on UK roads will feature Level 2 autonomy, reaching around half the car parc by 2030. The IMI launched Level 2 and Level 3 ADAS qualifications in 2022.

However, according to its ADAS TechSafe Technician Forecasts, there are currently only around 3,500 ADAS-qualified technicians in the UK, under a sixth of the number needed today.

IMI CEO Steve Nash commented: “Adapting a workforce to meet the rapidly evolving needs of an increasingly advanced car parc is no mean feat and certainly there has been plenty of focus on getting ready for EV. However, at the IMI we fear this could actually mean the sector has taken its eye off the ball in relation to upskilling for ADAS. This technology is already present in vehicles on UK roads. But with only 3,500 technicians ADAS qualified there’s a real risk that repairs and recalibration is taking place without the proper skills – and that is a serious risk to road safety.”

He continued: “We understand that high vacancy rates and ongoing economic pressures are making investment in additional training more difficult for businesses. However, futureproofing the workforce is essential for continued profitability as well as road safety.”

“Maintaining modern, high-tech vehicles is a matter of life and death, so a shortage of suitably trained technicians is nothing short of a crisis, particularly when you consider the government’s stated ambitions for autonomous vehicles. It is imperative, therefore, that all relevant stakeholders – including Government – acknowledge the profound economic and road safety repercussions of the prevailing skills gap.”

Steve added: “We need to work collaboratively to see more technicians gain the necessary qualifications to protect the industry and road users as we move towards an exciting future of autonomous driving.”