Preparing today for the skills of tomorrow

The 45th WorldSkills Competition took place in August with 1,354 young professionals from 63 countries and regions demonstrating their strength in 56 skills across a range of sectors. The manufacturing and engineering sector was represented by skills such as CNC milling, welding, mechanical engineering CAD and electronics amongst several others.

Our manufacturing employers are only too aware of the need to attract and retain the skills required within their business but are the skills needed today going to be the skills required in the future?

According to recent research by BAE systems, emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will strongly influence the careers of future generations. Almost half of young people (47%) aged between 16-24 believe that one day they will work in a role that doesn’t exist yet, but only one-in-five (18%) think they are equipped with the skills required to future-proof their careers. The findings also revealed that 70% of young people want more guidance on the skills that will be in demand in the next 20 years to help make more informed decisions on their further education and careers.

Do our manufacturers therefore need to engage with educational institutions to help direct training towards future skills needs ? Possibly.

The connected factory is fast evolving, with investment in intelligent machinery and robots improving efficiencies and reducing waste. It may therefore be more appropriate, whist waiting for changes in the education sector to feed through to think about re-training and upskilling current employees to be able to handle the jobs of tomorrow. Given the fact that the concept of “a job for life” is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, giving employees the opportunity to multi-skill and move around departments may be key to retaining them within the organisation and satisfying their need to move on/ try something new. The result should also be beneficial for the organisation, with a diverse multi-functional workforce who embrace change in a positive manner and improved recruitment potential in the coming years.

For more information related to this blog, please contact Ginni Cooper