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Made Smarter is a government programme chaired by Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK. In response to the technological changes and advancements associated with Industry 4.0, Maier developed the programme to support the manufacturing and engineering industry with the aim that the benefits and opportunities of these times of change would be embraced.

The North West pilot has been launched in collaboration with handpicked industry leaders, with the aim of educating SMEs in how they can confidently invest in digital technologies, robotics, data analytics and so on. Essentially, it is a support service that not only answers the questions of those in the industry, but also offers practical help with implementation.

The thought process behind the programme is that, if people can be inspired to adopt new practices and technologies instead of remaining resistant, then it will push the industry forward and lead to upskilled workforces and increased productivity and economic growth. 

Semta was approached to lead a series of Skills Task and Finish groups, looking into the required future job roles, the skills competencies, the potential impact on the current workforce and the necessary training and qualifications. Two cross-sector workshops have already taken place, which were attended by:

  •  Jaguar Land Rover
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Renishaw
  • Siemens
  • Accenture
  • ABB
  • ATEC solutions
  • Network Rail
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Leonardo MW Ltd
  • The Defence Suppliers Forum

This Future Skills workshop brought together cross-sector minds and pulled out definitions of key roles, the required skills involved and how to get these skills. 

A selection of the job roles discussed included computer software engineers, robotics engineers, systems engineers, cybersecurity specialists, IT solutions architects, and programming, coding and web developers. The necessity for non-technical roles in Industry 4.0 was also explored, resulting in roles such as digital leadership being brought to the table. 

The next workshop will be predominantly for representatives from the automotive sector. Given that this sector is already using high-level robotics, artificial intelligence and other forms of automation, it will be interesting to see what their next steps will be, and use the findings to look to the future. 

The next steps for Semta will be to look into training and qualification options. We are currently carrying out research to see which roles are being recruited for at the moment and which are likely to be needed in the near future. While large companies have the finances to acquire skills fairly easily, SMEs need to develop skills in-house. We will be assessing whether current offerings such as full and existing qualifications MBAs are the best option here, or whether bite-size options will be more suited to on-the-job and remote upskilling of existing workforces. 

It’s with great pride that Semta is taking part in the Made Smarter programme. The manufacturing and engineering industry is a rapidly evolving landscape and it is hugely exciting to be amongst the leaders of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  

‘Semta is delighted to be working with a range of employers from across the engineering and manufacturing sector to identify the impact of industrial digitalisation on their future skills requirements. It is essential that we take a collaborative approach to this key change driver.’
Sarah Dhanda
Head of Employer Engagement and Partnership, Semta

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