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Jaguar Land Rover retrains staff for electric cars

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Britain’s biggest carmaker has revealed the scale of efforts to retrain its workforce to cope with the shift to zero-emission vehicles.

Jaguar Land Rover said 10,000 workers in the UK alone, both in its facilities and those employed by dealers selling Jaguars, Range Rovers and Land Rovers, would have to go through retraining programmes.

Taking in its facilities in China, Slovakia, Austria, Brazil and India, the home of Tata Motors, its parent company, as well as in third-party dealerships worldwide, that number rises by another 19,000, or altogether 60 per cent of the 47,000 people directly or indirectly employed by the company.

Jaguar Land Rover said it was embarking on a three-year “global upskilling drive” to bring “connected and data capabilities and to support the rapid transition to electrification”. It did not put a cost on the scheme, but said it spent £20 million a year on training.

In a bold move, the company has committed itself to ditching the manufacturing of Jaguars with combustion engines by 2025 and will introduce a new electric stable of cars, the shape and size of which has yet to be revealed. Range Rover and Land Rover models will follow, although there has been an indication that some of these will run on hydrogen fuel cell technology.

The plan is for the entire fleet of vehicles to have zero emissions by the end of the decade. “Our plans to electrify our product portfolio are running at pace and we are rapidly scaling up our future skills training programme to ensure we have the right talent,” Barbara Bergmeier, executive director in charge of industrial operations, said.

The group admitted that there was a “skills gap” in dealerships, with 20 per cent of 1,300 outlets around the world unable to offer the servicing of electric vehicles. It said that in total more than 11,000 garage technicians employed by third-party dealers would need to be retrained.

Jaguar Land Rover said it would have to retrain thousands more in its own workplaces, involving automotive engineers and factory floor workers used to dealing with vehicles that have internal combustion engines. Not least there will need to be safety retraining as workers do their jobs alongside the new vehicles’ high-voltage systems.

In a statement, the company said: “Jaguar will become a pure-electric luxury brand from 2025.”

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