Saturday, September 30, 2023

India needs to reskill its workforce for the electric vehicle industry. How to do that?


Electric vehicles are the future of the auto industry. To develop a sustainable and prosperous EV ecosystem and eventually a strong economy, a strong and future-ready workforce is required.

Like the rest of the world, India too is gradually adopting electric vehicles and the pace is growing fast. A quick glance at the data shows how rapid the pace of growth for electric vehicles in India is. The Indian electric vehicle market has been evolving fast and as close to 0.32 million electric vehicles were sold in the country in 2021, registering an impressive 168% YoY growth. The majority of these electric vehicles sold in India last year are attributed to the two-wheelers and three-wheelers.

The global electric vehicle market share reached 8.3% including battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) in 2021 from 4.2% in 2020. It is estimated that there are around 6.75 million electric vehicles on the road around the world, and the number is expected to continue to grow further. India, being the fifth large automobile market in the world and projected to grow to become the third-largest globally by 2030, is expected to play a crucial role in the growth story of electric vehicles.

The Indian EV industry is witnessing an impressive growth aided by the factors like introduction of Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Electric vehicles (FAME), Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, battery swapping policy, a tax exemption of up to Rs 150,000 for under section 80EEB of income tax while purchasing an electric vehicle on loan, reduction of customs duty on key battery component nickel ore from 5% to 0% and reduction of road taxes and other incentives offered by several state governments under their respective EV policies. While these initiatives have been promoting electric mobility and related ecosystem to grow in India, there is another side of the story not many are talking about.

With every transformation in the industrial sector especially in the manufacturing industry, a huge upskilling and reskilling of the workforce becomes necessary. With the demand for electric vehicles projected to reach 102 million units by 2030, the next generation of India’s automotive workforce will need to be skilled to cater to the demand. Besides the new workforce, the existing workforce too will require to be upskilled and reskilled. This is necessary for them to remain relevant and competitive in the future when electric vehicles dominate the road. Also, this will enhance the employability of the workers in the transformed auto industry.

To ride the electric vehicle revolution and not miss the bus, the Indian auto industry and its supply chain of the workforce require to walk hand in hand. The industrial training institutes and educational institutions need to come forward with a revised and new-age curriculum that caters for the demand for the new generation workforce and assists in upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce as well. The current industrial training curriculums meant for catering the automotive requirements are majorly focused on conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles. Besides this, there should be an enhanced focus on electric vehicles as well, as those are going to be the future fleet of vehicles.

Besides the educational institutions, existing professionals, auto industry players like OEMs, component manufacturers, and technology providers too should come forward to help in formulating the new age curriculum, which will consist of advanced knowledge about the EV industry. This will not only ensure more EV manufacturing opportunities in India but increase steady job opportunities as well. Credible platforms that are developed on the back of academia and industry will ensure that the students garner the right set of skills fit for work in the future EV industry and on other disruptive automotive technologies as well.

electric vehicle breath

Employment scopes in electric vehicle ecosystem

Electric vehicles come with fewer moving parts as compared to their ICE-powered counterparts. This makes electric vehicles less complicated compared to traditional ICE vehicles. However, the technology in this space is relatively new and still developing. Hence, this sector offers a wide range of opportunities for employment. The job opportunities in the electric vehicle industry can be segregated into multiple segments – scientific research, design and development, manufacturing, maintenance and infrastructure. Clearly, the scope of employment in the entire electric vehicle ecosystem is pretty wide.

India is expected to have a 30% market penetration by electrified vehicles by 2030. Currently, the country has around 23 crore vehicles on its road. One-third of this vehicle fleet by 2030 could amount to about 10 crore vehicles, which are expected to be electrified ones including pure electric and hybrid models.

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship estimates that the electric vehicle industry alone will create employment for one crore people by 2030 across the country. It estimates that for every single direct job, there will be five indirect jobs in society. This eventually takes the number of total employment directly or indirectly by the EV ecosystem to around five crores. In a nutshell, the electric mobility ecosystem in India can create millions of local green and highly skilled jobs, which will generate employment for a huge chunk of the country’s total skilled workforce.

Here is a comprehensive view of the employment opportunities the electric vehicle industry ecosystem can create and offer to the workforce.

SegmentScientific researchDesign & developmentManufacturingMaintenanceInfrastructure
Functional requirementsImprove the performance of EVs by improving battery, recharging technology, and materials.Design, test, and integrate components like engines, batteries, generators, and electric motors.Manage specialized manufacturing processes including machine tool operations and assembly.Repair electric vehicles, and install EV componentsSetup and maintain charging stations, lay powerlines, establish grid connectivity
Knowledge & skillChemistry, material sciencesEngineering, chemical engineering, software, industrial designMachine design, industrial production design
Electrical system, battery systemsElectrical power-line installation and maintenance
Job rolesChemical engineersChemical engineersElectrical equipment assemblersMechanicsPowerline installers
Materials engineersElectrical engineersElectromechanical equipment assemblersTechniciansPowerline repairers
Electronics engineersEngine assemblersElectricians
Industrial engineersTeam assemblers
Materials engineersComputer-aided machine tool operators
Mechanical engineersMachinists
Mechanical engineering techniciansIndustrial production managers
Mechanical draftersElectronic equipment assemblers
Software developers, applicationsMachine assemblers
Commercial and industrial designers

Education sector should take responsibility

Industrial training institutes and other educational institutes that offer courses on vocational training have a huge responsibility to prepare the workforce for the future electric vehicle industry, as the new generation workforce will drive the future of the automotive industry. The education sector should develop mechanisms that will combine comprehensive coursework with a more practical, hands-on learning experience. It will eventually equip the new generation workforce with deep insights and practical knowledge about the hands-on training that goes into building an electric vehicle ecosystem.

However, the current Indian education system continues to sustain the legacy challenges. It still holds to rigidity when it comes to enabling rapid changes in the curriculum and keeping pace with the changing demand from the industry and employment sector. Changing the curriculum as per the demand of the employers is a necessity but in the traditional education system, red-tapism is a major challenge to achieve that. The new-age edtech platforms can play a crucial role in this space by providing sustainable standards in quality education that are required to upskill a large section of the students who would be part of the future workforce.

Automotive OEMs should come forward and join hands with credible partners in order to upskill their current and potential future workforce. They can partner with the education institutes to ensure a quick turnaround through less than a year spanning training programmes that will drive more focused and dedicated outcomes in comparison to traditional educational institutions.

Policy intervention to make things easier

Government is an important stakeholder in this entire process and it should intervene with a proper policy framework that will facilitate better synergies between the traditional educational institutes and new-age edtech platforms to ensure nurturing of deeper expertise in the future workforce and bridging the skill gap. The government should take a clarion call to build a skilled and future-ready economy and upskilling for the future face of the manufacturing industry is just the right way to do so.

To know more about the opportunities in the EV industry and the education sector’s responsibility, visit the 2022 India eMobility Show.

Also Read: 2022 India eMobility Show aims to boost the country’s electric mobility sector

Team AFT
Team AFT
The jack of all trades behind the


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