What was manufacturing’s answer to the skills gap in 2018?

Posted on 2 Jan 2019 by Maddy White

The skills gap in manufacturing is a significant issue, but by no means a new one. During the past 12 months, business leaders have adopted a number of new strategies to address the issue having realised that the real enabler to success today isn't technology, but people.

1) Women in manufacturing: A common-sense way of closing the skills gap

Women in Manufacturing Digital Technologies Digital Transformation - Stock
What could – and more importantly, should – companies be doing to level the playing field?

Addressing the distinct lack of women in manufacturing is not only the right thing to do, it is a common-sense way of closing the skills gap. Companies that fail to take advantage of all available talent are damaging themselves.

And yet, despite some well-publicised success stories, mainly about young women engineers doing well in larger companies, manufacturing is undeniably male-dominated.

2Businesses increasingly prioritising apprentices over graduates

Evidence shows that companies are giving greater priority to investing in apprenticeship programmes than recruiting graduates to gain specialist skills for the future.

3) Can you teach an old industry new tricks?

Less than 20% of parents would encourage their children to work in manufacturing, believing the sector to be dirty, monotonous, low skilled and poorly paid.

Which is why it’s so fantastic to hear of companies adopting innovative approaches to help address the root cause – namely, the public’s misconceptions of what a career in industry actually entails. Rather than simply producing a long list, here’s a trio of particularly innovative successes.

4) Can wearable technology help us learn new skills?

Conversations around technology tend to focus on job displacement and changing skills requirements, but perhaps we can broaden our thinking to a more nuanced perspective on how humans and work could benefit from wearable technology.

Thomas Bohné shares insights from current research into the potential for using wearable technology for industrial skills training.

Executives gathered at Manufacturing Innovation Summit 2018 to explore the need to disrupt or be disrupted – image courtesy of The Manufacturer.Risk/Reward Revisited: Manufacturing Finance Summit 2019 

  • How should you account for risk across more complex supply chains?
  • What impact will new funding models have on CapEx?
  • Why is the Finance Function central to a once-in-a-generation transformation of process and systems?

These are some of the key issues being addressed at the UK’s biggest gathering of manufacturing finance executives – in a format that sits delegates alongside speakers to enable you to have conversations that matter most.

Register now! 15 May 2019

5) Apprenticeships key to improving UK social mobility 

The provision of ‘earn and learn’ training opportunities are the secret to creating social mobility and economic growth, according to a major report.

6) Addressing the manufacturing gender gap

The gender gap in manufacturing is stark, and we all know it. But, there are solutions to improving this overt problem. TM heard some of these and the possible answers at the LCR4.0 Solution Theatre at Smart Factory Expo in November.

7) The UK needs a more flexible model for labour migration

The UK government heads in the right direction regarding a new migration policy - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
The UK government heads in the right direction regarding a new migration policy – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

With the announcement to lift the visa cap for nurses and doctors, and the new ‘settlement scheme’ for EU citizens, the UK government is heading in the right direction. But which actions will it take to tackle the skills shortage the UK industry faces?

8) How can we encourage people into the sector that contributes £131bn to the UK economy?

Did you know that over 90% of smartphones contain electronics designed in Britain? The UK’s electrical industry is perhaps more prevalent in your life than you might think. However, less and less people are training as electrical engineers. How can this be solved?

9) Helping workers develop the skills, knowledge & experience they need

Although everyone agrees that to be successful businesses must nurture and up-skill their staff, the right training path is not always obvious. EEF’s Alison Valente discusses options for manufacturers.

10) How to improve ‘people capability’

Earlier this year, Sharing in Growth showcased its 2018 finalists. CEO, Andy Page, gave an outline of SiG’s progress to date and underlined the importance of employee engagement to achieve sustainable business growth.