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Trending in manufacturing: The importance of upskilling your workforce

28 February, 2018
Trending in manufacturing: The importance of upskilling your workforce

Everyone knows that manufacturing is changing – in fact, it is all that many businesses and influencers in this space are talking about. The question is; if we all know that the manufacturing industry is experiencing very disruptive changes, why aren’t more manufactures ensuring that their ‘traditional’ workforce are equipped and ready to excel in their new environment?

We are entering a space where there are two critical trends competing for attention, both equally as important for future manufacturing success. The first trend, as previously mentioned is the aggressive push to upskill manufacturing workers through various ways with a greater emphasis on ‘digital’ manufacturing. BUT in order to survive this disruptive time, it’s key for manufacturers to invest in new talent including computer coders, app developers, data scientists etc.

Only by striving to master both of these trends will manufacturers be able to harness and maximise the new technologies and processes available to them.

Addressing the skills gap

While businesses and government bodies are already making the effort to attract and retain talent within their organisations, there is still more that can be done to improve the image of the UK’s advanced manufacturing sector and to promote the benefits of pursuing a career in this area for the next generation.

The need for an influx of talented, creative and original thinkers into the UK holds the key for the future development of businesses across the spectrum.

It is critical for manufacturers to make greater efforts to engage with schools and universities sooner, in order to generate more enthusiasm for advanced manufacturing amongst young people. Additionally, apprenticeships can play a key role in creating more prepared and qualified workforce and are often open to Government grants, which bring benefits to both the individual and the employer.

However, employers must take steps to narrow the skills gap both in terms of finding new talent and encouraging the upskilling of employees in order to future-proof their businesses.

Training and retraining your employees

Ensuring that your employees are trained and developed is the key to success in any business, but it’s absolutely crucial in an industry that’s going through a period of disruptive change, like manufacturing.  

During this time of change, it’s quite likely that some of your more ‘traditionally’ experienced employees will have a harder time adapting to some of the new processes, this is one scenario where training is necessary.

Untrained employees tends to mean unhappy employees… those who feel they are inadequate, that they are underachieving or unsupported won’t be satisfies in the work. This has a knock on effect too and will often cause them to underperform, make mistakes and not care about their work outcome. This costs the business in lost time, and money.

There’s many benefits to upskilling your workforce – excluding savings to time and money – here are five examples:


  1. Increased productivity
  2. Reduced employee turnover
  3. Increase your ability to leverage new technologies
  4. Increased in job satisfaction, morale and motivation
  5. Reduce the need for supervision

By training and retraining your employees, it means that your workers are continuously learning new skills that can improve production, reduce time to market, and overall create a better working environment. An investment in your workforce and their personal development is an investment in your company’s growth.

Manufacturing in 2020

You’re all aware of the major trends taking hold of the manufacturing industry; industry 4.0, IoT, Big Data, to name a few. But which of these trends should be your focus? In our guide, Manufacturing 2020: Beyond the digital revolution, manufacturing industry experts share their thoughts on how manufacturers can ensure their success to 2020, and beyond!

Categories: Manufacturing