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TWI Offers Expertise to Future Manufacturing Workforce Study

Mon, 03 February, 2020

TWI was among the partners in a recent study by the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult to determine steps to build a skilled workforce for the future of manufacturing.

Manufacturing delivers 10% of the UK’s Gross Value Added, 45% of UK exports and 1/5th of inward investment into the UK. It also makes up 69% of all research and development investment and employs 2.7 million people. However, the contribution made by manufacturing to the UK economy, the level of employment and the proportion of manufactured goods in UK export statistics are all on the decline.

While the UK’s capacity for technology innovation and research remain high, 80% of manufacturers report that they are struggling to recruit the skilled talent required to compete. In addition, manufacturers are having difficulty accessing the provision needed to upskill the current workforce to keep pace with developments in manufacture.

TWI worked with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and the National Physical Laboratory, along with participation from the Department for Education and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to identify good practice for developing the future workforce. The study, with funding and support from the Gatsby Foundation, looked at international examples of good practice, which were coupled with forward-thinking from the UK, to propose chances that will improve, enhance and extend existing initiatives.

The report found that the UK can catch up to competitors and secure a competitive advantage from the research and innovation communities by creating a ‘Skills Value Chain.’ This value chain would create closer collaboration between the UK innovation and skills systems and education and training providers. This will involve forecasting skill requirements and supporting national standards to deliver modular training and lifelong learning models led by centres of innovation and industry.

The recommendations made by the report include assessing the future needs of industry, creating higher technical qualifications and developing modular training and resources in support of the future skills development of the existing workforce alongside the training of new employees. The study recommends the further development of learning factories as well as creating a joined-up approach between government, industry and education.

Dick Elsy, Chief Executive of the HVM Catapult, said, “This report demonstrates how the HVM Catapult and other centres of innovation can convene resources and expertise to increase impact on national and local economies. We are keen to build an alliance with government, industry and education providers to provide the best workforce for future needs.”

You can find out more and see the complete ‘Manufacturing the Future Workforce’ report here.

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