Strengthening the Future of Manufacturing by Upskilling in Engineering and Technology

The manufacturing sector continues to overcome various challenges; however, the one challenge that continues to stop CEOs and senior management in their tracks is managing the skills gap.

The skills gap and recruiting and retaining skilled employees are critical areas that the manufacturing industry continues to grapple with.

In fact, according to Make UK, approximately 36% of vacancies in manufacturing are hard to fill due to a lack of required skills, knowledge, qualifications, and education in engineering and technology, with one in ten companies taking over 12 months to fill a vacancy.

With no manufacturing company immune to these challenges, there are ways to strengthen the sector’s future by upskilling in engineering and technology.

Current Economic Situation

Despite some manufacturing companies reporting a stabilising of work and production, Make UK continues to forecast two years of further low growth fuelled by the manufacturing sector’s shortage of workers with the required skills to carry out specific roles to support process efficiencies, productivity, and innovative product lines.

Manufacturing is also continuing to face the challenge of an ageing workforce, with employees looking at early retirement and reduced hours. This is a significant cause for concern as we see insufficient skilled STEM graduates entering the workplace to replace and fill these vacancies.

Believe it or not, technology is also a significant cause of a lack of efficiency and productivity, as there is no investment in resource-intensive training or skills management training to share knowledge and upskill teams i.e. people don’t know how to use technology, and there is no clear transfer of skills.

The problems that these challenges are creating include:

  • A reduction in productivity
  • Higher operational costs
  • Negative impact on turnover
  • Decrease in customer satisfaction
  • Innovation and creativity plummet.

What can we do?

How can we create a skilled workforce for better efficiency and customer satisfaction?


Carry out a skills gap analysis

Analyse what additional skills are needed to remove process inefficiencies, boost production, and increase output and hence, turnover.

Analyse your current manufacturing processes and identify key skill areas and the competencies required, such as technical skills related to operating machinery, problem-solving abilities, and more.

From here, you can then look at solutions to close these gaps in the most effective way.

Invest in training

Address the skills gap within your organisation by investing in worthwhile training programmes that ensure teams and individuals have the necessary knowledge and expertise to tackle current and future sector challenges.

Appropriate training helps to upskill workforces, helping employees find process inefficiencies, streamline operations, and implement cost-effective workflows.

Investing in your workforce makes them feel valued, and they will go the extra mile to enhance operational efficiency, improve production, and introduce lean manufacturing principles, which all reduce costs and improve profitability.

Introduce mentorship programmes

You need your teams to understand how your processes, machinery, and technology all work cohesively.

Investing in training for current employees is essential. Upskill employees by introducing a mentorship programme that allows individuals to learn multiple roles within the organisation, (this multi-disciplinary team approach comes with numerous benefits; check out our latest post HERE).

Mentorship enhances flexibility, efficiency, and adaptability and gives employees a broader skillset, making them more valuable to the organisation.

Work to attract new talent

Develop a targeted recruitment strategy to target and attract the most skilled workforce possible.

In addition, creating partnerships between business and education establishments allows you to work with young people, introduce them to STEM, show how these areas manifest in the workplace, and support them on their journey into skilled positions within the manufacturing sector.

At Innomech we believe in inspiring young people to enter the world of engineering and technology to provide a sustainable way to protect and grow the manufacturing sector and we support local STEM programmes and initiatives that help young people experience engineering and technology firsthand.

We’re also proud of our collaborations with The Cambridge Network, One Nucleus, and Cambridge University Institute for Manufacturing, which ensure our teams are at the cutting edge of engineering solutions.

Embrace technology

By upskilling teams in engineering and technology, you’re more readily able to adapt to technological advancements.

Introducing automation and investing in training empowers teams and increases efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. It removes repetitive and complex tasks and allows your workforce to learn new skills and upskill in automation.

The importance of automation in manufacturing cannot go unnoticed; it is truly significant. And if manufacturing firms are looking to reduce the skills gap and protect their business in the future, automation is a vital component to help with this success.

Supporting an increase in efficiency, a boost in output, and improved customer satisfaction.

Benefits of upskilling

  • You can address labour shortages with feasible and cost-effective solutions that benefit all.
  • Boost productivity and customer retention as employees feel valued.
  • You stay ahead of industry trends as you become better equipped to generate new ideas, solve complex problems, and drive continuous improvement.
  • Implementing automation into processes allows you to address downturns in productivity and efficiency.
  • Supports long-term growth and sustainability as you capitalise on opportunities.
  • Teams and manufacturing processes become more agile as they embrace new challenges.

The future of UK manufacturing

To grow, strengthen, and secure manufacturing in the UK, improving your manufacturing processes and, in particular, taking advantage of opportunities in-house to upskill teams and individuals in STEM, matched with implementing the right automation and investment in training, can and will provide invaluable support to the future of manufacturing in the UK.

Keeping the sector agile, on top of digital advances, and securing the workforce of the future.

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