Production of the new Toyota Auris Hybrid has been supported by extensive training for all employees at Toyota Manufacturing UK's (TMUK) Burnaston and Deeside factories, both in hybrid vehicle manufacturing and wider environmental issues.

The diploma they gain on completing the course has been officially recognised as a Level 2 NVQ (non-vocational qualification).

Toyota says that employees needed to be 'well versed' in specific issues surrounding hybrid vehicles, such as safe handling of the high voltage elements of the Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain.

Tony Walker, TMUK Deputy Managing Director, said: "Launching production of the new Auris Hybrid has called for a big investment in training. We have even developed a new Diploma in Hybrid Vehicle Introduction and Environmental Improvement, together with a number of partners, which has been formally recognised as an NVQ Level 2.

"It means we are the first in Europe to have the skills and knowledge needed to manufacture full hybrid vehicles. And with Toyota's strategy to progressively expand its full hybrid technology to more models, TMUK will be well placed to support this expansion."

The range of different practical study elements within the qualification includes:

  • Environmental effectiveness in the workplace
  • Application of environmental learning in society
  • Evaluation of standard operating procedures during new model introduction
  • Verification of new product designs using a trial vehicle
  • Contribution to the application of problem solving techniques during new model introduction

To understand and meet the special requirements of building the first European-manufactured full hybrid car, TMUK members have also travelled to Japan and the USA to learn best practice in safety and quality from their Toyota colleagues who make Prius at Tsutsumi, the “mother” factory of Toyota’s hybrid production, and in Kentucky, where the hybrid Camry is built.

Toyota says these teams have then been able to pass on their new skills to their colleagues through further training sessions back in Britain.

Production of the new Toyota Auris begins at TMUK’s Burnaston plant in Derbyshire later this month. The 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine featured in the hybrid powertrain is supplied by the company’s plant at Deeside in North Wales.