Supporting the Next Generation of Manufacturers

Like many households we have two kids whose lives are ruled by technology. Our boys would spend every waking moment glued to their IPod, the PS3, my mobile phone or anything they can get their hands on to get their daily technology fix. Personally I find it fascinating to see their skills at such an early age, and it leads me to wonder what the world will be like for them when they are older and how technology will influence the way they work.

Technology continues to shape the business world of the future and Industry4.0 gives us an idea of what the future might hold. Many manufacturing companies are embracing this technology, with Industry4.0 surely being a key focus in every manufacturing company’s strategy for the future. To maximise the opportunities that are out there, manufacturing businesses will have to embrace change, train and develop their people to help them achieve their strategic objectives.

Developing a changing workforce may well transpire to be one of biggest challenges. It is well documented that there is already a skills shortage in the sector and the impact of Brexit does not make the landscape any clearer. Furthermore, the decline in apprenticeships and lack of focus by schools at an early age to concentrate on the skills relevant to the sector is a real problem, and perhaps may result in the next generation of manufacturers and engineers looking elsewhere for an attractive career path.

That said, many businesses are actively taking control in order to try and engage with their employees of the future. This includes working directly with schools to talk about the sector and arranging factory visits so that children gain a better understanding of manufacturing. Another successful initiative is where companies are opting to work collaboratively with regards their apprenticeships, effectively sharing their apprentices with non-competitive business to help create more rounded and better skilled individuals.

The future is uncertain. What is clearer is that the next generation of manufacturers and engineers are out there and the sector needs to connect with them, however it also needs the help and support of government, and parents, to help them do so.

If you have any questions for Tony about your manufacturing business, please get in touch

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