What is the future of automotive technology and how do we engage with and address the training needs of young people today? This is something that the MTA’s Group Training Organisation Manager Jason Polgreen asks when he presents to schools. Currently, the parent and teacher mindset is that the automotive industry is dead, and this, Jason says, is not the case.
“I like to get young people excited about the automotive technology of the future and the idea that mechanics just fix dirty old cars is changing, they are well and truly automotive engineers in their own right these days. When people talk about automotive technology, we think about autonomous vehicles and electronic / hybrid vehicles as being the future and when I visit schools, I explain that this technology isn’t just coming, it’s already here.”
Jason explains that current school pathways programs must change in schools and advances in motor vehicle technology aren’t being acknowledged by the education system.
“There is a huge misconception in South Australia. Just because the Holden manufacturing plant closed last year, the automotive industry is dead and that’s just not the case. I hear too often from parents, teachers and high school students that they haven’t considered career choices in the automotive industry because there are no jobs and no future but the truth is that the automotive retail, service and repair sector is facing a huge change in the way vehicles will be manufactured. New vehicles will require exciting new skills. Currently, schools are ‘throwing’ career pathways at kids with ‘bells and whistles’ but what the MTA is developing is real job opportunities for young people and in turn, the automotive engineers of the future.”
Currently, a modern high-end car’s software can contain up to 100 million lines of code. To put this in comparison with other vehicles, a Boeing 787’s software contains just over 10 million lines of code, while the Mars Rover contains just 5 million lines of code!
We are approaching the day when a car will have less moving parts and rely less on fossil fuels with the emergence of not only electronic / hybrid vehicles but also alternative powered cars such as hydrogen while a lot of future technology being put through its paces on the race track.
As a lifelong Motorsport fan, Jason says one of the best ways young people can get excited about the future of automotive technology is to pay attention to what is currently happening in the emergence of motorsport technology, specifically Formula-E racing.
As we look at training the automotive engineers of the future, schools must be asking students the question, “what will the automotive industry look like in 10 years?”
Jason explains that radical changes are definitely on their way and as the automotive industry adjusts to a cleaner, greener future that is more connected than ever before, the automotive engineers of the future will be required to maintain these emerging vehicles.The MTA will continue to provide the training necessary for young people in the automotive industry, laying the foundations for a career in the automotive retail, servicing and repair sector as well as providing vital upskilling such as our Electronic / Hybrid Courses which have seen attendees from overseas.