readySC and Scout Motors Discover Road to Success

“Where do we go from here?” asks the teaser trailer for the new Scout Motors electric vehicle set to debut this summer. The answer is simple. As it has been throughout humanity’s existence, “it will be scouts who answer the call” to chart the way forward.

In keeping with this tradition, a readySC team embarked on its own scouting mission to map out the training and recruitment strategy that will equip South Carolina’s workforce with the skills and knowledge needed to drive Scout Motors' success.

The Scout discovery team traveled to Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

A Team to Lead the Way

When Volkswagen Group handpicked South Carolina as the site for the first-ever Scout Motors electric vehicle (EV) facility, readySC and the SC Technical College System stepped forward as pioneering partners. With the mandate to prepare a potential workforce of 4000 employees for the upcoming EV manufacturing hub, the collaboration aims to tailor training programs aligned with the demands of crafting next-generation electric trucks and robust SUVs.

“One of our major goals is to develop specific training for the impending Scout Motors workforce,” says Patrick Sellars, readySC Project Director for the Scout Motors project. “Along with that, we are collaborating with Scout to establish an on-site training center that will be tailored to meet their unique needs."

The first step in this journey was to assemble a diverse team of experts from readySC and Midlands Technical College experienced in the training and recruitment requirements of advanced manufacturing. The discovery team then voyaged to Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany in November 2023. There, they delved deep into Volkswagen's established training methodologies, seeking to adapt and implement these proven strategies at the forthcoming SC facility.

“I would say this is one of the best discovery trips I've ever been on, if not the best that I've ever been on.”
— Brad Neese, Vice President of Economic Development and head of the readySC program

Next-level Discovery Trip

Brad Neese, Vice President of Economic Development and head of the readySC program, recounts the profound impact of this expedition, describing it as an unparalleled learning experience. “I would say this is one of the best discovery trips I've ever been on, if not the best that I've ever been on,” he says. “One of the reasons was how seriously they took it and how organized they made it. The Volkswagen Group is the largest auto manufacturer in the world and so they have a tremendous amount of experience to share. They have a great baseline training process that gives us a good start on where we want the program to be in South Carolina.”

Elmer Castro, readySC Training Manager, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the immersive engagement fostered by the host company throughout their visit. “The company was next-level engaged with our discovery, putting a lot of time and effort into it. From scheduling relevant daily discovery interactions to being engaged during facilitated brainstorming sessions. They strived for every detail to be valuable for all present.”

Guiding these brainstorming sessions turned out to be key to success. “They brought in these facilitators to keep us on track because we were covering a tremendous amount of information and it's easy to get bogged down in the details,” Neese explains. “They helped us to move on from a point and then also recognize when we’d been sitting too long and needed to go see things in person.”

The team participated in facilitated brainstorming sessions while learning Volkswagen’s training process.

A Voyage of Learning and Innovation

The team marveled at Volkswagen's pioneering strides in electric vehicle training, encountering an environment primed for learning. Patrick Sellars was awed by the amount of information made available to the team. “Our discovery trip to Germany was an amazing experience,” Sellars says. “It included a virtual tour of the Volkswagen factory, viewing classic automobiles displaying innovations in the automotive industry, as well as current electric vehicle technology for next generation EV’s.”

“We saw a lot of things that are new to us, especially their electric vehicle training,” Neese agrees. He also praises Volkswagen's collaborative approach, which first encouraged the team members to conceptualize their own solutions before introducing established methodologies. “They literally have a training playbook that says ‘here's your starting point.’ But what was really cool about the process was they didn't tell us about this playbook until we started getting towards the end of our visit.

“They pushed us to come up with our own ideas about what we think is important and work through any differences. And when we all began to merge together and be on the same page, that’s when they said, ‘now you're ready for the playbook.’ Then they encouraged us to take what we learned and individualize it into our particular project. It was really well done.”

Unveiling Key Insights

Neese highlights the strengthened camaraderie between the readySC and Scout Motors teams as a fundamental outcome from the journey. “One of the key takeaways is that now we know our teams mesh really well together,” says Neese. “It’s great to work with a group of people that already has a teamwork mentality and knows each other well.”

Castro points to the multifaceted elements encompassing training methods, from culture to technology integration, all vital insights garnered from the expedition. “It is always interesting to learn how our client companies approach training within their operations,” says Castro. “We saw how they orchestrate different elements to bring their training to life, like company culture, technology, production systems, evaluation methods, and so forth.”

Row 1 (L to R): Ilker Subasi-Volkswagen Group Academy, Loveness Schatz-Volkswagen Group Academy, Caron Recker-Scout, Brad Neese-readySC, Christian Wode-Volkswagen Group Academy, Elmer Castro-readySC, Dr. Barrie Kirk-Midlands Tech  |  Row 2 (L to R): Hans Wittlinger-Volkswagen Group Academy, Terrance Rivers-readySC, Benjamin Gaston-Midlands Tech, Corey Epps-Scout, Patrick Sellars-readySC, Iris Achtermann-Scout  |  Seated: Mareike Rensch-Volkswagen Group Academy

Where We Go From Here

The readySC discovery team returned home from their German excursion well-equipped to map the path forward with the amount of information received and insights they had gleaned. They are now busy defining the next stages in their mission.

“We’re currently focused on taking what we learned from the discovery trip and nailing down the training design,” says Brad Neese. “We have a great partnership with the Scout team and we're working together to develop a really solid pre and post-hire training plan. And soon we’re going to begin hiring and training our own additional staff to help implement that training.”

There is an additional component integral to the project that will be getting underway this year. “The other important thing that we're doing right now is building the training center,” Neese adds. “We're working with the Scout team and architects to determine what that layout is going to look like. So our goals for the beginning of 2024 are to complete the training design and to begin the construction of that training center.”

Time to Get Ready

Construction of the Scout Motors site is still in its early stages and vehicle production isn’t projected until the end of 2026, but some positions are already being posted on Brad Neese stresses that now is the time for people to act on their interest in Scout Motors.

“I want to get the message out that there’s still time to be a part of this journey,” says Neese. “We’re going to need a lot of people and these are going to be incredible jobs that are going to pay well. It's a cool company culture. It's a cool product. And there's still time for people who have no manufacturing experience to go to their local technical college and use things like SC•WINS to get the training and education that they need to qualify for these jobs when we're ready to go.”

Elmer Castro and Patrick Sellars see a bright future for the project. “The readySC team is looking forward to providing relevant, laser-focused entry-level training and recruiting services to support the company and the residents of South Carolina for a successful start-up and long-term success for years to come,” says Castro.

“The Scout Motors Project is an exciting and dynamic undertaking,” agrees Sellars. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our Midlands community as well as the entirety of South Carolina.”  


As readySC and Scout Motors converge in their pursuit of excellence, they illuminate a path towards innovation, opportunity, and prosperity in EV manufacturing, marking a pivotal moment in South Carolina's industrial EVolution.



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