Manufacturing training in the digital age

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In today’s world it’s easy to get lost online – especially when it comes to learning new skills and, if Covid has taught us anything, how to handle your workload in a constantly evolving digital space. A large part of any career is progression and personal development.

Training is as strong a focus within the manufacturing industry as it is in any industry, yet there are parallels within the manufacturing and the digital landscape – they are both always evolving and always working on the next big thing that will revolutionise their respective industries. This is difficult to enforce without teaching employees – both existing and new – the skills they need to help propel the organisation forward.

Manufacturing roles come with their own unique set of challenges, and many can be physically demanding and dangerous. Training is vital to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of any workforce, but this is ever more vital in a manufacturing space.

Today, training within the manufacturing industry has arguably never been more important, and here’s why.

Upskilling employees

Manufacturing companies have a long and proud heritage of promoting staff internally. This allows existing employees to continue to grow professionally and move up and sideways within the same company. With the manufacturing landscape constantly evolving, a workforce needs to follow suit.

It’s not always easy recruiting externally to fill skills gaps, so it makes sense to upskill your existing team and empower them to embrace a new way of working. Not only does this allow the organisation to move forward, it is also likely to have a positive impact on staff turnover, as research has proven that employees who are constantly learning are more likely to stay in the same job for longer, as their role needn’t become stagnant.

Fighting the skills shortage

Speaking of recruiting externally, the pressure of skills shortages is making this increasingly difficult. As the baby boomers begin to retire, they are leaving behind a skills gap. Unfortunately, the perception of STEM careers has suffered in recent years. Manufacturing careers are deemed less desirable in the UK than in other countries and as a result, the young and tech-savvy generations of today are not actively turning to careers in manufacturing.

Whilst a lot of amazing work is being done to combat this, training means that the pressure of having to recruit is somewhat relieved. High-quality and diverse training opportunities may also be an attractive prospect for any young people that do decide that manufacturing is the right career path for them.

Industry 4.0

An always changing and growing industry,manufacturing is in a constant state of evolution. This was true before COVID-19, but since the start of the pandemic things have had to change even more. Organisations need to be continuously embracing change and all the growing pains that go with it in order to stay competitive within their markets. If they don’t adapt, their business will get left behind while the competition flourishes.

Let’s take technology for instance. This has arguably been the biggest game-changer for any industry, yet with the manufacturing industry technology has launched businesses into the metaphorical stratosphere, proving itself as something to contend with over the years. Whilst technology has made things a lot easier for manufacturing workers by taking over dangerous procedures and speeding up assembly processes, computer-aided manufacturing is simply not possible without a skilled and highly-trained workforce.

Whilst a vast array of robotics may not need too much human intervention to do their job, the rise of collaborative robots (cobots) rely on humans in order to do their job. They work together with humans to carry out tasks more efficiently and for this reason, employees need to be continuously trained so that they can handle and operate any cobots on the shopfloor, and keep up with the constant innovation.

Jobs in manufacturing are not the same every day. There’s no room to simply be comfortable and stay still. Innovation is a driving force and this innovation has allowed manufacturing to reach dizzy heights over the years. At the root of this success is motivated, skilled and highly trained workforces, and that is always worth investing in.