If you have indeed being following our project development for a while, you already know we are very dedicated on addressing the Manufacturing Skills Gap. DTAM is meant to attend to this problem, by designing and delivering a strategic integral online methodology, offering a flexible multidisciplinary modular training with access for learners to a network of remote IoT labs linked to various industrial sectoral processes (thanks to differing regional industrial focus offered within the partnership).

Yes, it’s a complicated issue as there are many reasons creating and enlarging this Manufacturing Skills Gap. Sectoral associations, companies, regional and EU policymakers and educational institutions are aware of the need for initial and adaptive training for both operational and ICT technicians to face the emerging technological and digital transformation inherent in evolved manufacturing processes.

There are many reasons contributing to the Manufacturing Skills Gap and while we can easily blame the technological advancements we are witnessing like AI and Robot based automation, there are also clear mismatch in the perceptions of both businesses and their employees like false job expectations and even “simple” things like retiring professionals. According to industry leading product value management company Propel, the skills gap issue “revolves around the labor market being unable to find workers who have the manual, operational, and highly technical skills, knowledge, or expertise to take the open positions”. The article also specifically stresses out the importance of upskilling current workers as one of the ways of fixing the skills gap (read the whole article here) and that is indeed very true.

According to CEDEFOP 2 in 5 EU workers find their skills not fully used at work. The European skills and jobs survey (ESJ) also discovered a more troubling trend where “around 26% of EU adult employees have significant skill deficits (their  skills are much lower compared to those an average worker needs to be fully proficient in their job) leaving much scope to improve skills and  productivity. According to the same ESJ survey, “more than one in five adult employees in the EU have not developed their skills since starting their job”.

Manufacturing companies, which make up 8,9% of the EU economy (EUROSTAT May 2019), recognize that the emerging reality not only requires specialized engineers but also a trained pool of skilled operative technicians capable of understanding, installing, configuring, transferring data and securely maintaining the high end digital technology which connects and controls manufacturing – now called Advanced Manufacturing.

The above is especially true when it comes to SMEs, as 99% of EU companies are SMEs and are key to ensuring economic growth, innovation, job creation, and social integration in the EU (Source – NACE Sectoral Analysis of Manufacturing 2016).

Source: Unleashing the full potential of European SMEs

Manufacturing SMEs are forecast to increasingly need adequately trained OT technicians with digital competence. New initial VET training is required, as well as reskilling and charted self-learning pathways.

Industry and VET providers need to meet this clearly identified skills gap for which the design of a quality curricular solution based on, and validated according to EU standard accreditation guidelines, is pressing. VET/HVET providers require a flexible, well-designed curriculum in digital competence at the right skills level that will reinforce regional industrial competitiveness in the global market and their own educational offer, enabling both sectors to generate knowledge and employment and to contribute to the welfare and prosperity of regions, in line with territorial, European and international agendas.

The Digital Transformation in Advanced Manufacturing – DTAM project aims to create and provide innovative curricular training (reskilling and upskilling opportunities) in digital transformation competences for the advanced manufacturing sector (AM), for mid-high level IT and OT technicians at EQF Levels 4-5 +. The DTAM partnership will design and deliver an innovative curriculum in key enabling technologies and transversal competences for AM. The integral DTAM curriculum will prepare:

  • ICT technicians to approach and understand digital technology in relation to AM processes and machinery (how to install, configure and monitor cyber physical intelligence and tools in AM environments)
  • Robotics and Automation (or other OT) technicians with the ability to understand and manage digitalisation tools and the most advanced AM technologies for secure deployment and maintenance.

It’s now been two years since we’ve launched our project and we are almost done with our key milestone i.e. the DTAM training course. Interested in the checking it out? Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t skip on this or the rest of good stuff coming up in the next months.

Featured image credit: Freepik/storyset

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