Survey reveals major training gaps in UK industry

15 May 2017

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Survey reveals major training gaps in UK industryA survey commissioned by Bosch Rexroth has revealed worrying gaps in training provision and readiness for Industry 4.0 in the UK engineering and manufacturing sectors. The survey revealed the following:

  • Two-thirds of respondents were not aware of Industry 4.0 and the majority of those that were aware of it are not undertaking specific Industry 4.0 training
  • 40 per cent identified gaps in training for automated production processes
  • More than half felt that finding the right training course to meet employee needs was a major challenge

Entitled Tackling the training gap in UK manufacturing: remaining competitive in rapidly changing times, the survey, undertaken by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), garnered responses from around 100 decision makers within the sector. It covered topics including the structure of training, Industry 4.0, apprenticeships, links to academia and maintenance.

The study revealed that in as many as one-quarter of companies, less than 10 hours of training is delivered to employees each year on average. Meanwhile, results found there was no widespread optimism around a greater commitment to, and role for, training in the next five years. Automated production processes and modern automation techniques were identified as the areas where the greatest gaps in knowledge exist.

There was some optimism in the area of apprenticeships, with most companies taking on apprentices each year, and little evidence of a lack of quality applicants, all demonstrating recognition of the commitment necessary in this area to attract and retain young recruits in the coming years.

Industry 4.0

Perhaps most troubling in the context of the overall competitiveness of UK industry was the recognition of and readiness for Industry 4.0. Also known as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 is based on the creation of smart factories with optimised connectivity between people and machines. More than two-thirds of respondents had not heard of Industry 4.0 and, even among those who had, well over half were not engaged in any specific training in preparation for it.

The survey also revealed content for training courses offered from manufacturers, academia, industry bodies, equipment suppliers and other interested parties rarely addressed industry needs and had a far from joined-up approach.

Richard Chamberlain, Service Product Manager at Bosch Rexroth, summarises the findings: "The adoption of Industry 4.0 in many countries is happening at a rapid pace and it is vital that the UK is not left behind. A strategic and properly funded approach to training is the best route forward, with content that adds value and fully equips participants to play their part in extracting maximum yield from capital investments.

"There is a clear need for greater collaboration in this area to deliver relevant and cost-effective courses, using the most suitable media, to optimise skill levels and enable UK companies to remain at the forefront of innovation and quality."

Follow the link to download the white paper and for more information about training available from Bosch Rexroth.

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