The manufacturing sector has an optimistic future and can provide major opportunities for people to develop rewarding careers in an industry that is an essential part of the European Union (EU)’s economic infrastructure. Manufacturing is an essential service that is used in almost every activity that we undertake individually and as a community. Without manufacturing, our standard of life would change beyond conception and would have an unfathomable economic impact. In 2018, the EU manufacturing sector accounted for 16% of the total EU GDP, for around 2 million enterprises and 33 million jobs1. Of these 33 million individuals, 2.4 million were employed in what is considered high-tech manufacturing. One out of three employed in the high-tech sector was a woman.
The Talentjourney transnational joint curricula developed within the project partnership will ultimately be used as a catalyst to roll out the concept across the EU vocational education and training (VET) system. The EU manufacturing industry skills shortages are well documented in the Talentjourney report 2.1 on skills gaps in Industry 4.0/IIOT in smart manufacturing. Forecasts of smart manufacturing Industry 4.0/IIOT future skills challenges are similarly defined by industry as an anticipated barrier to success during interviews and questionnaires within Talentjourney. There are several reasons for this, all with regional variations, as set out in report 2.1. However, a common theme is industrial digitalisation or Industry 4.0/IIOT, as it is changing industry’s requirements of a future skills base and shifting the nature of smart manufacturing work and job roles.