Robot ready manufacturers can take on the skills gap
16 Jun 2021
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of technology in the manufacturing industry. Continued investments in robotic automation will contribute to transformation says Jungheinrich’s Jon Divers...
According to new research by PWC, by the mid-2030s, up to 30% of all jobs could be automatable.
Manual tasks are becoming automated and with an increasing focus on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) to drive operational efficiencies, businesses will need to consider new strategies to attract, train and retain the skilled workforce needed.
Mind that gap
It is estimated that companies will need to recruit an additional 700,000 skilled employees, yielding a total of 3.4 million workers. However, the manufacturing industry in particular is projected to fall 2 million workers short.
The Government is now encouraging initiatives to up-skill individuals, including the Lifetime Skills Guarantee campaign as well as the Kickstarter programmes.
An alternative route involves training in-house, which provides individuals with other possible pathways to secure employment. This enables employers to develop workers who have the exact skills and competencies required to work within the industry. This process effectively eliminates the need for government and educational facilities, establishing more routes into the thriving industry, while strengthening the UK’s economic position.
Nowadays, engineers are required to work with the latest innovations around improving efficiency, productivity and space optimisation. Lithium-ion technology, for example, is leading the way in achieving faster charging times and creates a more flexible and environmentally friendly working environment.
Additionally, forklift trucks are operating on laser guidance systems, pallets are moved from A to B on conveyors and elevators, and there are high bay warehouses with stacker cranes moving products. Although automated machinery requires minimal human interaction, the software and programming behind the systems used is considerable, and this is where trained engineers are essential.
Educational qualifications where you learn on the job are increasingly attractive. Apprenticeship schemes also provide organisations with the opportunity to have individuals grow alongside their business.
Training as an apprentice to then qualifying as an engineer provides a critical route to combat the rising levels of unemployment, and gives future generations the skills needed in order to develop within the industry. Especially since the materials handling industry and logistics industries are growing rapidly, it is now the perfect opportunity to provide the training and skills required, encouraging growth of the UK economy as we move towards more efficiency, productivity and innovation.
Jon Divers is customer service director at Jungheinrich UK