Mind the skills gap, says FANUC UK

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Photo by Fanuc UK

A leading UK manufacturer and factory automation expert has called for prioritising skills and training in the year 2018, as demand increases for robotics and programming.

In a 12 Jan statement, the Coventry-based FANUC UK Ltd said since the launching of its purpose-built training facility in Ansty Park last May, the company had seen “overwhelming demand for its robotics, robo-machines and CNC programming courses, as well as its long-standing apprenticeship scheme.”

With talk of a “skills gap” continuing to make headlines, FANUC UK urged manufacturers to develop their own initiatives to promote careers in manufacturing to a new generation.

According to Anthony Bentham, customer services manager Fanuc UK, there are several skills concerns in the UK, including the slow uptake of manufacturing and engineering careers by young people and the fact that many school-leavers are currently entering the profession without the skills that employers need.

To address the concerns, Bentham said practical-based training should be promoted as a viable alternative to university degrees.

“Manufacturing isn’t immune from fast-paced technological change, and this needs to be reflected in our approach to skills and training,” noted Bentham.

Apprenticeships, he suggested, provide a great opportunity for young people to build practical experience and forge links with industry.

“As an industry, I’d suggest that we make 2018 the year of apprenticeships and training, by taking a more proactive and collaborative approach to skills-based learning,” he concluded.

The UK manufacturing, chemicals and plastics industries, among many others, have warned against a serious skills gap that is looming ahead of Brexit, when the country officially leaves the European Union in March 2019.

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