College plans £3.1m upgrade to train electric car mechanics

Plans to upgrade the engineering facilities at City College Norwich have been unveiled

Plans to upgrade the engineering facilities at City College Norwich have been unveiled - Credit: CCN

Plans for a £3.1m college upgrade to drive its engineering courses into the future have been unveiled.

City College Norwich has lodged plans to carry out more than £3m of updates to its construction and engineering facilities with the city council.

The upgrade of the facilities at City College will cost around £3.1m

The upgrade of the facilities at City College will cost around £3.1m - Credit: CCN

The plans will see eight of the college's workshops refurbished and kitted out with new equipment geared towards helping students learn more about low-carbon and sustainable approaches to transport, home-building and manufacturing.

Financed entirely from the government's £25m Town Deal, the project will include one of the first motor vehicle facilities in the region specifically designed to support hybrid and electric vehicles.

City College Norwich mechanic apprentice Ethan Hawkes

City College Norwich mechanic apprentice Ethan Hawkes - Credit: CCN

The plans have been welcomed by 17-year-old motor vehicle apprentice Ethan Hawkes, who works for DNB Mechanical Services and has a year left on his level three apprenticeship, which he is doing through the college.

He said: "Having the new workshop will be nice as we will have more resources at our disposal. This will mean we will be able to learn more.

"We [DNB] do classic cars but do also get a lot of hybrids and electric vehicles in as well - and obviously you have to be trained to work on them.

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"If I get qualified on electric cars, we can get more in and I can work on them more, so this will benefit the business as well.

"The motor industry is constantly changing - everything is always advancing and there's always more to learn."

One of eight workshops at City College Norwich which are set to be upgraded

One of eight workshops at City College Norwich which are set to be upgraded - Credit: CCN

As well as refurbishing eight college workshops, the project will also see new specialist equipment purchased, while also creating three new advanced technology classrooms.

Corrienne Peasgood, City College principal, said: "It is vital that we prepare our students for the technological advances, zero carbon innovations, and new working practices, that are developing rapidly throughout all areas of construction, transportation, and engineering.

Corrienne Peasgood, City College Norwich principal. Picture: Nick Butcher

Corrienne Peasgood, City College Norwich principal. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

"This investment in our facilities will not only give our students the best possible start to their careers, but it will also support our region's transition to becoming a zero-carbon economy that leads the way in sustainable housing, clean industry and digital innovation."

Norwich City Council will consider the application in due course.

Analysis

It is an unmistakable fact that technological advancement is needed if we are to create the sustainable, carbon-zero future needed to combat the climate crisis.

However, we still feel many, many years of being at a point where electric or hybrid cars outnumber those running on petrol or diesel.

While there are many barriers standing in the way of this happening, one of the biggest here is affordability. 

On average the cost of purchasing an electric or hybrid car is around 20pc higher than a petrol or diesel car, which disincentives people from taking the plunge.

For this reason, fewer are on the road, which equally disincentivises those training in auto-mechanics to train in working on them - as the lion's share of work is still in petrol and diesel.

It is therefore admirable that the college is taking steps to advance the level of training people have in sustainable transport.

Hopefully as this technology becomes more commonplace, it will become more affordable - so getting more people trained up in managing it will be vital.