Australia’s first vocational pathway tailored to e-scooters and e-bikes is being developed by a pilot partnership between TAFE Queensland and share service provider Beam.
The six-month pilot will begin next month to explore accredited training to create a nationally recognised qualification for e-bike and e-scooter mechanics, Beam announced this month.
It says the move towards formal TAFE qualifications is recognition of the micromobility industry’s growth potential across Australia.
“In Australia, Queensland has been at the forefront of this new transport mode, introducing the country’s first legislative framework for personal mobility devices and piloting the country’s first shared micromobility program in Brisbane in 2018,” Beam says.
“There are now over 20,000 shared micromobility e-bikes and e-scooters across Australia, less than five years on from Brisbane’s first pilot program – a number that’s dwarfed by the estimated hundreds of thousands of personally owned e-scooters and e-bikes owned by Australians.”
It says those numbers and rate of growth demonstrate a need for an education pathway to support an industry that global management consultancy Mckinsey estimates will generate up to $90 billion globally by 2030.
“As part of the partnership, Beam will provide industry knowledge around the support and maintenance of an e-mobility fleet and support its employees in engaging with the trial program,” Beam added.
“A group of full-time Beam employees currently working across the company’s Queensland operations in fleet technician and mechanical roles will take part in the pilot course, bringing their current industry knowledge gleaned from working in Beam’s operations and learning new skills as part of the course.”
Modules in the pilot program include: test and repair basic electrical circuits, service and repair mechanical braking systems and inspect and service electric power-assisted bicycles.
TAFE Queensland will develop additional course modules based on the industry’s specific needs.
It says the pilot will form a crucial part of the national accreditation process to develop training benchmarks that will benefit businesses, workers and customers across the country.
Beam’s lead fleet technician in Brisbane, Brad Roger, a former vehicle mechanic with the British Army, is a prime example of the talent set to be fostered by the new accredited training.
“I started working on vehicles in a very different way – I was a vehicle mechanic in the British Army for six and a half years, working on wheel-based vehicles like land rovers and armoured patrol vehicles.
“I started working at Beam in November 2022, and as soon as I started, I knew I wanted to move up the ladder,” Brad said.
“I love the technical side of working with light electric vehicles like e-scooters, and also managing a team.
“Being at the forefront and seeing the growth of our Brisbane operations, as well as being a part of the growth of the shared micromobility industry is important to me.
“It feels like we’re breaking new ground on an exciting new industry that’s only going to get bigger.”
Beam’s General Manager (ANZ), Tom Cooper, said: “As the industry continues to grow, it’s vital we are able to educate and nurture local talent who will be able to take on the new challenges of micromobility as we work to make an impact on congestion in our cities.”
“The shared micromobility industry has progressed quickly since it was first introduced to Australia in 2018, with great advances in geofencing technology, AI and machine learning that have made it possible for the industry to scale as quickly as it has.
“As the industry continues to grow, it’s vital that we are able to educate and nurture local talent who will be able to take on the new challenges of micromobility as we work to make an impact on congestion in our cities.
TAFE Queensland’s SkillsTech acting general manager, Stephen Gates, said partnerships like the Beam collaboration were key to TAFE’s ability to continue preparing Queenslanders for the jobs of the future.
“At TAFE Queensland we put a large focus on industry engagement and partnering with industry leaders to identify skills gaps and implement training needs. Beam will help give an insight into the growing industry of e-mobility vehicles in Queensland and show us the expectations for workers within this industry,” he said.
Beam’s Queensland Operations Manager, Andrew Dodd, said when the trial ends, Beam will assess feedback from the trial students about the course content, and work closely with TAFE Queensland and the Queensland Government to build “a suitable training framework to serve Australia’s newest mode of transportation”.