This spring, a main focus of the European Institute for Innovation – Technology (EIfI-Tech) within the realm of the EU-funded Erasmus+ Talentjourney project was to develop the Talentjourney Work Package 2.1 Report – Skills Data Collection for Connectivity Devices and Services/CDS (IOT in Smart Manufacturing). Within the report, one of the first outputs of the Talentjourney project thus far, desk-based research was used to identify skill gaps and opportunities for the development of smart manufacturing skillsets on which to focus the research, as well as to map existing European competency frameworks to design surveys and prepare for in-depth interviews. The background research performed by EIfI-Tech also provided industry data and data from existing projects/research to assess current and future (in 5-10 years’ time) skill gaps, ultimately providing a basis for designing a methodology for VET programmes related to smart manufacturing. The report integrated data about the existing and the potential occupations and about the existing educational and training programmes in smart manufacturing in the EU and worldwide. The desk-based research presented by EIfI-Tech was supported by in-depth interviews conducted with a sample of employers, manufacturers, training providers and relevant stakeholders in each partner country: Slovenia, Italy, Finland, Estonia and Germany.
Some significant findings from the report on skills data collection within for Connectivity Devices and Services (CDS) — IOT in smart manufacturing — towards user oriented, user friendly and eco-friendly solutions includes the point that employer research points to a perceived skill set that sits beyond traditional education models; in some spheres, these are called meta skills or universal skills. Employers lack in many of these skill sets when looking at workforce planning. Simultaneously, digital technology will transform our future. Data-driven innovation through intelligent use of data is already exploding, tied into the growth of AI and automation. Vocational education training (VET) programmes need to address the oncoming ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ through education and skills to equip future employees whilst re-equipping the current workforce. In reality, employers report that their futures are very much fixed on the present, with shortages due to a lack of staff with sufficient technical knowledge in the emerging smart manufacturing sector. In order to face these challenges and look to the future, it is necessary to make the most of the current workforce and bring them through this transition period.
Understanding and responding to the evolving skills needs of business is critical to increasing economic growth and productivity in the EU, hence the need for the EIfI-Tech, with the support of the international Talentjourney consortium and their findings within the Talentjourney project, to develop the Talentjourney report on Skills Data Collection for Connectivity Devices and Services/CDS (IOT in Smart Manufacturing).
The European Institute for Innovation – Technology (EIfI-Tech) is an applied research institute that works on a variety of projects, merging technical innovation with economic deployment. Thus, the EIfI-Tech is known for its work with innovation and entrepreneurs; it shortens the connection with industry and academia partners. Furthermore, the EIfI-Tech is active in applied research, feasibility, testing, development, demonstration with the purpose of ultimately supporting economic deployment. Through its broad networks EIfI-Tech is currently used to build up regional connections to early stage business proposals in RIS3 sectors. The EIfI-Tech operational team manages the delivery of project work programmes working in partnership with national/EU agencies, learning institutions, the private sector and people – the so called “Quadruple Helix”.
The EIfI-Tech has vast experience in using digital media to promote the development of a trans-disciplinary curricular that combines know-how on the new emerging technologies. Developments cover a spectrum of school/VET materials at multiple levels which are intended both as educational and training material. EIfI-Tech believes that they make an excellent contribution to the Talentjourney project and will benefit with continuing our strategy into enterprise and entrepreneurial educational development, which will change the educational landscape into one which has an employer’s voice at the heart of the system thus allowing the educational skills system to supply the necessary skills for industry in the 21st century.
Raising European economic power is clearly connected to education and training. In many promising industrial sectors – especially manufacturing – there is an urgent need to raise and improve education and shape the curriculum offer to meet the demands of the labour market in the near future, so 4.0 technologies need to align to what the manufacturing sector requires. These demands apply to both recruitment in specific fields of manufacturing, and to the development of skills and competences related to the (future) needs of the employers in this sector. In the European region, dominated by a knowledge economy, there is an urgent need for innovative skilled and entrepreneurial young talent that have the correct mix of STEM. This is also articulated in the Europe 2020 Agenda, stating the target of at least 40% of the youngsters having a grade in higher education at that time. There is a need of long-term principles that underpin a shared ambition for growth through people.
Development and implementation of new pedagogies are areas we have expertise in. Participation in peer learning and mutual learning activities through thematic working groups is core to our business. In our extensive previous experience of projects, we have been working to create new learning opportunities through the development and practical application of entrepreneurial skills. We are also working on raising awareness campaigns promoting the benefits of learning at a local, regional, national and EU levels, especially in developing skills sets required using 4.0 technologies such as how IOT will influence the delivery of STEM based curriculum offers, utilizing innovative methodologies such as AI/AR that is employer-led.
EIfI-Tech is currently undergoing work to complete the next steps in the Talentjourney research on skills data in smart manufacturing, which will cover sustainability/skills data collection methodology as well as ideation of the transnational CDS vocational curricula, including key indicators that are crucial for the excellence of the joint curricula.