Representing SMEs in the processing sector, Iain Crosley, MD, joined 150 thought leaders gathered to discuss ‘Innovation, Skills and the Future of Work’ at the opening of Autodesk’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility (AMF) in Birmingham.
Iain was invited to join a panel of representatives from academia, a start-up business and a large manufacturer (#makeanything) to address the perceived skills gap and the steps being taken to bridge that gap.
Here Iain reviews the day and the future of work in the processing sector, ‘With lively discussions from a wide variety of manufacturing backgrounds and demonstrations of how innovative technology is employed to maximise business opportunities, the day was an exhilarating exploration into the future of work.
The discussions reinforced my view that for companies and their workforces to fully embrace and exploit the new technologies it is important to foster an open mindset, throughout the business so that everyone is at ease with technology and the possibilities it represents.
This open-minded approach is vital – ‘business as usual’ is not an option nor is it a strategy for survival. I would suggest that a progressive approach is the only way that processes will be facilitated and gains maximised.
Although most companies do recognise the importance of plugging the skills gap with a sound training infrastructure, simply providing training for young people may deliver only limited returns. What I’m suggesting is a programme of reverse mentoring whereby the more technically aware younger group collaborate with the more experienced engineers, who may possibly be quite tech-resistant – to blend respective knowledge and skills to solve problems and create opportunities.
At Hosokawa Micron, we have adopted this novel mentoring approach to good effect, not just in terms of skills but also morale and team building.’