Electric Vehicle Collaboration of Colleges in North-West Ireland

The lecturing teams from Donegal ETB, Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT), North-West Regional College (NWRC) and South West College (SWC) are collaborating with electric vehicle specialists Hyundai to prepare for the ensuing transition to Electric Vehicles.

This collaboration commenced at the Hyundai National Learning Centre in Dublin with National Service Training Manager Denis McCrudden. Denis says: “Hyundai is driving their recruitment of apprentices and trainees to fill the highly skilled and technical roles needed in our franchises, but this this is not enough.  At Hyundai we empower the technicians within our network with the knowledge and skillset to keep ahead of the ever-evolving Electrical Vehicle Technology. We are also collaborating with LYIT and their associated NW colleges to increase Irelands skill base in Electric Vehicle Engineering and Technology so that all sectors of every industry can benefit from Hyundai’s expertise in the area”.

This is an exciting opportunity for the North-West since the global electric car sales have surged by 140% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The innovative new courses offered by Donegal ETB and LYIT have been designed to allow graduates to work in this industry which is embarking on the rapid transition to electrified propulsion, namely Electric Vehicle. The government has set a target to have 936,000 of the cars registered in Ireland electrified by 2030 which necessitates both technical and engineering skill sets.

Charles Young, LYIT Lecturer says: “This is a unique opportunity for our generation to embrace and deliver on new clean technology. The mechanical simplification of the electric vehicle and novelty of the new engineering will make the Automotive Discipline more accessible to many.”

Ireland is however somewhat behind in offering much needed training to engineers and technicians working in this area, and damage to business will ensue if this remains unaddressed. These programmes bridge this skills gap and will provide graduates who have the necessary knowledge and skills to excel and strengthen the industry.

Donegal ETB Motor Instructor Cornelius Sweeney said, “Donegal ETB’s Motor Mechanic Department has been providing training to motor vehicle technicians for over thirty years, and now, more than ever, see the opportunity to help educate the latest recruits and experienced motor technicians in the newest technologies.”

He highlighted how the opportunity afforded through this training with Hyundai Ireland to access state of the art green technology training, will further enhance the skills the education and training partners involved can pass onto future students.

Thomas Jude Kelly, a Letterkenny Business Owner participating in the BSc programme says: “I work for myself with no training on being a boss so it’s intriguing to hear how it should be done and allows me to identify where things need attention here. I have been able to diagnose and repair hybrid vehicle faults, attract new customers and provide advice to customers who want to buy an EV. I feel this course is invaluable to people like myself, even down to having too much unutilised floor space and the cost of having scrap lying in the corner (hoarding). I couldn’t recommend it more.”

The importance of the collaboration between the four education and training organisations and Hyundai Ireland, was noted by Donegal ETB’s Assistant Training Services Manager Colm Richardson: “Our collaboration with LYIT, NWRC, SWC and Hyundai Ireland ensures that the North-West region is ready to train and educate for our electrified future. There is a strong ethos of collaboration between Donegal ETB and other learning partners in the region as we strive to provide cutting edge training and resources to the current and future work force of Donegal and beyond.”

If half of all vehicles made were fully electric, 10 million net jobs would be added globally economy-wide by 2030, according to the UN and International Labour Organisation. Local industries must also adapt if it is considered that the mode of powering Quarry Crushing Equipment, Agricultural Equipment and Material Handling Equipment for example, will all have to change.

Image of lecturers standing side by side.
Charles Young (LYIT), Denis McCrudden (Hyundai Ireland), Alan Mitchell (NWRC), Timothy Lunn (LYIT), Brendan Corry (LYIT), Ciaran Gallagher (Donegal ETB), Niall McElchar (SWC), Cornelius Sweeney (Donegal ETB) and Colin Gibson (LYIT).