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Manufacturing experts set out solutions to workforce ‘crisis’

With around 80% of manufacturers struggling to recruit the talent they need, a new report from the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult explores good practice from across the globe.

The report warns that the UKs current approach to workforce development for manufacturing is outdated and requires government, industry and education providers to work together to produce a workforce fit for the future. 

According to the report, the challenges facing UK manufacturing include current and future skills shortages; an ageing workforce and reduced migration; fragmented education and training programmes; rapid digitalisation and the new skills required to deliver it; and a comparatively small higher-technical skills base. 

In particular, many of the skills needed to succeed in the manufacturing of the future will not just be technological but will also require higher levels of cross-cutting skills such as analytical and organisational capabilities 

The HVM Catapult, established by Innovate UK to connect manufacturers with world-class research and development facilities, looked at approaches to workforce development by other advanced manufacturing organisations in Ireland, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland and the US. 

The report concludes that the UK can catch up with best practice elsewhere by harnessing innovation and advanced manufacturing centres like the HVM Catapult to foresightskills requirements, support national qualification standards for industrial digitalisation, and improve recognition of modular and lifelong learning for skills development.  

 

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In a statement, the Department for International Trade said: 

As we enter a new era in UK trade as an independent trading nation, these tools will support existing businesses who are trading internationally and encourage new businesses to start by making it easier for them to find the information they need. 

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, welcomed the report: 

Make UK members anticipate significant skills challenges as they adopt new technologies and are concerned that they will not be able to access the training that they require. We support the recommendations of the report and will work with all stakeholders to develop a training system that works. 

 

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