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Too few mechanics for Britain’s electric car ambitions, warns Halfords boss

Halfords boss has urged Boris Johnson to address the shortage of specialist mechanics capable of handling government ambitions to quickly increase the number of electric cars on the UK’s roads.

Graham Stapleton, CEO of the retail and auto services business, said he was “very concerned” that not enough steps are being taken to close the “skills gap”.

The government said earlier this year it would ban sales of all new gasoline and diesel cars and vans by 2030. It said there are around 500,000 zero and low emission cars on UK roads, but it is projected to increase to as much as 11 million by 2030.

Mr Stapleton said the UK is expected to be short of about 35,000 technicians able to handle these vehicles and called for government assistance to quickly increase that workforce.

He said, “There just isn’t enough and we have to train thousands every year if we are to come anywhere near the required level.

“I spoke to the government because I am very concerned that we need to train more people, or at least determine how this process will work.

“The plans that you have drawn up to expand the electric car space are of course very interesting, but you need appropriate skills in this area to deal with it.”

It comes amid widespread labor shortages in UK industry, with skilled sectors such as mechanical engineering seeing rising vacancy rates.

Halfords said it had accelerated its hiring over the past year and increased the number of apprenticeships with an emphasis on the electric vehicle market.

The retailer said it will also hire hundreds of additional staff after staging a £ 62 million deal to purchase Axle Group, owners of tire service brand National.

The deal will help Halfords expand operations to 1,400 locations.

Mr Stapleton said the company was pleased with efforts to increase consumer recognition of motor services.


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