According to a study commissioned by the Canadian Automotive Repair and Service Council, nearly 100 new technologies could shape the skill requirements of the future.
The research report, from Convergence Management Consultants Ltd., identifies 95 OEM vehicle technologies that have recently been, or are likely to be, incorporated into new car, light/medium truck, and heavy truck vehicles over the next three to five years.
Some 74% of the new technologies, which industry employees will have to master to do their work, are associated with engines and fuel and onboard electronics, such as in the engine bays and passenger compartments of vehicles.
The study was commissioned by CARS as part of its 2009 labour market research.
The critical skills needed now and in the next three to five years fall under two main categories: vehicle technologies and business technologies.
Employers and employees alike believe that all areas of new vehicle technology will require some degree of knowledge or skills upgrading. While both employers and employees view onboard electronics, hybrid electric vehicles, and diagnostics as key areas for skills development, employees put slightly higher emphasis on emissions controls.
Collision repair shops, understandably, are concerned with improvements in paint, frame, and metal construction and lightweight and new materials.
The research did not include technologies that are in the research stage or in concept vehicles, and whose significant adoption is more than five years away. It also excluded subassemblies, components, and subcomponents for the technologies, fuels, products, or assemblies.
Three areas of business technologies stand out as needing to be addressed over the next three to five years by industry businesses overall: diagnostic systems and equipment; specialized shop floor tools, equipment and rooms; and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.