It’s not often that a bus maker grabs column inches in a major city daily newspaper, but that is exactly what Volvo did last week in the Sydney Morning Herald with the announcement that  the Swedish bus maker is working with TAFE NSW to help train bus technicians and  support staff  to be trained and ready for the introduction of electric buses, which in NSW is happening at a pace.

Volvo Bus and TAFE are  partnering to develop a range of specialised industry-based courses specific to theintroduction of electric buses.

The introduction of electric buses including Volvo’s BZL Electric  which the company says will be launched soon,  introduces a range of new operational factors that the company says must be addressed by industry.

“The nature of electric vehicles means the introduction of high voltage systems requires extensive understanding about theway vehicles are built, operated and serviced,” Volvo stated

NSW minister for skills and tertiary education, Geoff Lee announced  that the NSW Government, through TAFE, is developing short courses along with Volvo Bus to help mechanics upskill and work safely with industry-leading bustechnology.

Minister Lee said the training will play a key role in helping NSW transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2030.

“The adoption of electric buses introduces a new range of skills needs that we must address such as working with high voltage systems and understanding the way vehicles are built, operated, and serviced,” Geoff Lee said.

“We’re proud to be partnering with Volvo Bus, part of the largest automotive manufacturer in the country, to ensure thesafety of people working in this industry.”

VBA believes safety in and around electric vehicles is an area that requires greater focus.

“It’s about protecting workers as they work with these new products in a variety of areas including assembly of a new bus,service of the vehicle in the workshop, driving the bus and managing emergency service responses as required,” the company said.

Mitch Peden, general manager of Volvo Bus Australia  said that safety is in the company’s DNA and hopes that the contentand courses it is working on with TAFE NSW become the industry standard across all the country for all makes, vehicle typesand brands.

“We see the need for a national approach to training, skills and certification of staff, and are delighted to be partnering with TAFE NSW on these new programs. The introduction of electric vehicles is certainly not the time to compromise on safety –our operator partners and industry have done a fantastic job in recent years delivering safe public transport – now we have an opportunity to lift standards even further,” said Peden.