HGV Pathway - Zero Emission Truck Taskforce - Skills working group - Meeting notes

Areas of Discussion

In addition to the barriers and issues explored by the full Taskforce, the group also considered the barriers to skills development set out in the Skills for Low Carbon Transport report, which included:

  • Limited adoption to date of low-carbon drivetrain HDVs - If the vast majority of HDVs are still conventional ICE vehicles there is limited need to develop skills in some parts of the workforce as there is little current demand. However, the working group feels that for certain roles the demand is already increasing and that there may be certain areas where demand is rising fast.
  • Extended service maintenance - Most manufacturers/suppliers of low-carbon HDVs include extended service, maintenance and repair packages with their vehicles; so, for the most part fleets do not require such skills within their own workforce. However, these skills are still required within the wider workforce.
  • Emerging clarity on technology choice for smaller HGVs - Since the publication of the HDV skills report, HGV operators are seeing the capabilities of battery electric HGVs cover more use cases, and battery performance and capacities are improving. Many operators of sub-18t HGVs are looking to use battery electric HGVs so there is greater certainty on the immediate skills needs emerging.
  • Awareness of technological advances - The HDV skills report stated that for fleet operators the lack of ongoing access to technical information about the constantly evolving zero emission vehicles that are being placed on the market was acting as a barrier to developing the necessary skills. This was highlighted particularly for emergency services and DVSA inspection staff, however it remains true for all fleet owners. The working group agreed that skills needs should be linked to the latest technology roadmaps.

Key learning

  • Work is already underway to refresh many of the initial training frameworks in colleges and universities, and so the group chose to focus on the existing workforce.
  • Energy Skills Partnership run both an Automotive Training Network and a Hydrogen Training Network. The former has worked with local colleges to deliver a series of awareness events for their offering of electric vehicle courses, which includes day courses, apprenticeships, and evening classes, with local garages. The latter has developed two online courses on hydrogen skills, one on general awareness and the other focused on hydrogen for transport. 
  • Hydrogen qualifications are under development, with Hydrogen General Awareness available now and more technical qualifications at levels 2 and  3 (repair and replacement) being written by Development by the Institute of the Motor Industry.
  • In addition to drivers and mechanics, some upskilling will be required for C-suite roles (particularly those procuring vehicles), breakdown recovery, finance and insurance. A key skills gap at all levels is how to assess the technical and financial suitability of zero emission HGVs.
  • The Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan is being updated and transport is part this process.

Detail sitting underneath the indicative strategic actions listed in the Pathway

  • Map out occupations - including the career pathways
  • Map what’s already available for training courses for each occupation to upskill
  • Highlight the gaps in the provision, where new training or qualifications will be required
  • Look at funding availability for these programmes and any gaps
  • Prioritise SME funding to encourage upskilling – these are the businesses who will more likely be last to transition and the “not in my working life group”
  • SMMT to provide the timeline showing tipping point where upskilling will be required for technicians
  • Convince existing workforce to participate in training – we will need to sell them “why” they should upskill.

Organisations involved in working group discussions

  • Road Haulage Association (Chair)
  • WH Malcolm
  • Hydrogen Vehicle Systems
  • CJ Lang & Son
  • Scottish Wholesale Association
  • Filshill
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • Energy Skills Partnership
  • Institute of the Motor Industry
  • Unite the Union
  • Dunns Food and Drinks
  • The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders


The aim of the Zero Emission Truck Taskforce Skills Working Group was to deliver the actions required to improve the pace at which the right skills are found at the right time to decarbonise HGVs. The group did not consider other employment issues such as pay or conditions but was solely focused on the skills required to work with zero emission vehicles. To focus on The group met three times. At the first meeting the group agreed its remit and to focus on the existing workforce; the second meeting investigated the current understanding of the skills gap and agreed to seek further information on existing job roles, skill requirements d timelines;  the third meeting explored the existing skills landscape in Scotland and discussed draft actions.

Published Date 19 Mar 2024 Type Topic