“By 2030, India aims for 30% electric vehicle (EV) sales, creating a demand for 10 million direct and 50 million indirect jobs,” says Mr. Rajeev YSR, Founder and CEO, EV Masterclass.
To know more about the scope for employment in Electric Vehicle (EV) industry, emerging job roles, need for training, capacity building and entrepreneurship opportunities in the EV sector, we spoke with Mr. Rajeev YSR, Founder and CEO, EV Masterclass and Mr. Sandeep Kosaraju, Labour Market and Vocational Advisor, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
Below are a few excerpts from our conversation. You can watch the full video interview on our YouTube channel.
Q. Please share your thoughts on the electric vehicle industry’s rapid growth, talent shortages, and the increasing demand for training.
Mr. Rajeev YSR: In 2018, while working with Gati as Ikea’s last-mile delivery partner for electric vehicles (EVs), I encountered a significant challenge in finding talent with exposure to EV servicing and delivery. The scarcity of such talent became evident, and discussions with industry leaders revealed a widespread acknowledgment of the issue.
However, the shift to electric vehicles marked a complete paradigm change, demanding entirely new skill sets. Unlike traditional service engineers, EV technicians needed proficiency in computer diagnostics, data logging, and software reflashing. I became strongly convinced that the current scarcity of talent in the electric vehicle industry is poised to widen, given the transformative evolution witnessed in automobiles over the past 100 years and we are going to witness a revolutionary shift in the next two decades. This problem is not limited to India, the gravity of the issue was underscored by the US government’s $175 billion investment. The challenge extends globally, with Europe facing a shortage of skilled workers for electric car production, and even Japanese teenagers participating in building battery packs. This is when I realized the significance of the problem. It’s not just a challenge; it’s an important and substantial issue, impacting not only India but the entire world. Given its magnitude, my conviction grew stronger: why not actively work towards finding a solution?
Q. Which sub-sectors within the EV industry offer significant employment potential, and where do you identify critical needs for focused training initiatives?
Mr. Rajeev YSR: Currently, the automotive sector employs 19 million people, with potential for 5 to 10 million more in the unorganized sector. By 2030, India aims for 30% electric vehicle (EV) sales, creating a demand for 10 million direct and 50 million indirect jobs. Considering India produces only 1.5 to 1.8 million engineers, there’s a substantial skill gap.
As the industry transforms, many existing automotive jobs will become redundant, requiring extensive upskilling. Specific roles critical to the evolving automotive and EV landscape include:
- Service Technicians: Essential for maintaining the growing fleet of EVs, addressing issues from small wire disconnects to motor malfunctions.
- Manufacturing Production: Despite automation, skilled hands are crucial for building EVs.
- Sales and Business Development: Vital for educating consumers about new EV technologies and driving market growth.
Service technicians, manufacturing production, and sales/business development are key areas shaping the future job market in the EV industry
Q. How is GIZ collaborating with the government of Kerala for the current initiative addressing industry demand, mismatches, and skill gaps, and what outcomes can we expect from this partnership?
Mr. Sandeep Kosaraju: GIZ has a robust mandate, recently updated to focus on green skills and the green sector. One notable project is the “Indo-German Vocational Education Training” initiative, where we collaborated with IIT Bombay over two years to develop an EV curriculum. This includes a theoretical handbook and practical guide with experiments. We have also successfully implemented in West Bengal and Telangana, involving 60 to 90 participants from polytechnics, and we are now launching this program in Kerala. The proactive initiative by the Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology ANERT for new energy training has made Kerala the latest cluster to join the project. Now, we have Mr. Rajeev YSR from EV Masterclass on board for this initiative.
Q. Could you provide insights into the curriculum development for the EV training initiative, and how the training of trainers or teachers, has been addressed in this program?
Mr. Sandeep Kosaraju: Recognizing the importance of thorough preparation, we acknowledged the need to train trainers before launching the program for polytechnic candidates. In our IGVET project, we prioritize capacity development by collaborating with local industrial associations. This approach ensures that trainers receive adequate training, especially considering that many of them may lack sufficient background knowledge in the subject.
Q. Could you provide few insights into the effectiveness of the program in preparing trainers for future student training?
Mr. Rajeev YSR: In the era of electric vehicles, the surge in adoption is crucial for combating climate change caused by pollution. Despite the increasing demand, there’s a shortage of skilled hands in the electric vehicle sector globally. India is being looked upon as a key player to address this challenge. I deeply appreciate GIZ’s initiative, a federal body from a country renowned for its technical prowess.
Our impact is evident as we equip and train trainers. In our initial pilot involving 30 faculty members, the feedback is encouraging. Some faculty have already implemented the program for students, recognizing the vast opportunities within the EV ecosystem. The momentum has started, and with partners like GIZ, this momentum is expected to grow rapidly. The broader vision is for India to become the global market and talent hub for electric vehicles.
Q. For youth from ITIs, polytechnics, and engineering colleges, what specific job opportunities should they be focusing on within the skilling and vocational ecosystem?
Mr. Rajeev YSR: As we delve into the realm of electric vehicles and the role of service technicians, GIZ envisions that in the next 5 to 6 years, many vehicles will surpass their initial battery lifespan. Consequently, these batteries will enter their second life, potentially in stationary applications or recycling for new products. Credit is due to GIZ and specifically for their insightful discussions in forums like the Society Center Discussion. These forums, including involvement with master class, are exploring programs for battery refurbishment and recycling, aligning with the vision of sustainable manufacturing in the future. This opens up abundant opportunities across the value chain, encompassing various qualifications, from diploma holders as hands-on manufacturers to engineers as design innovators. Moreover, effective communication and business development skills can transcend qualifications, making it a promising journey from diploma to engineering roles.