Halfords is training staff to help close a skills gap in the servicing of electric cars, bikes and scooters.
The motoring and cycling retailer began training up its staff for an electrified future but estimates that the UK motor industry needs to double the number of EV technicians it is training each year to ensure the UK is able to service and repair an estimated 11 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2030.
Graham Stapleton, chief executive, said: “We are making a substantial investment in further training for existing colleagues, including in the rapidly growing area of electric vehicle servicing as we work to fill the skills gap that exists in the UK.
“We will be training 100 more electric car technicians next year, bringing the total to 470. In addition, we will be growing the number of e-bike and e-scooter servicers in our stores from 400 to over 1,800.
“This means that, by April, each of Halfords’ garages will have at least one electric car technician, with electric bike and scooter servicers in every store.”
The group, which runs Halfords shops and garages, is also investing £1.4m in training for 6,000 store colleagues in all motoring and cycling services skills, meaning every store employee will be able to carry out varying levels of bike and car checks and repairs. Halfords said this will significantly improve its services capacity. “The upskilling programme will result in our employee skills base more than doubling from 17,000 skills to 40,000,” it said.
Stapleton added: “We are very pleased to have achieved such a strong first half performance against the backdrop of one of the most challenging trading environments in recent history. It is a great testament to the strength and adaptability of our business, as well as to the professionalism, hard work and dedication of our colleagues.”
Demand for bikes and scooters has boomed as many commuters opted to stop using public transport as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Halfords said it launched over £4 million worth of initiatives to support its staff, who have “worked tirelessly to help keep the country moving”.
These included a £1.5m Here to Help Fund for use by employees and their families struggling financially as a result of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and a “Frontline Colleague Support Fund” to reward the resilience, dedication and professionalism of our frontline colleagues during the lockdown period.