Paul Healy (pictured)
Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland
Ireland is a global leader in the advanced manufacturing space. However, if we are to continue to realise this ambition, Irish businesses must continually adapt to new technologies and develop their workforce at pace.
Driven by technological innovation and disruption, the manufacturing industry is now in a constant state of transformation. Businesses in this sector find themselves not just in need of employees, but employees with a skill set that did not exist 10 or 20 years ago.
Stakeholder collaboration is key for employee development
Once considered a traditional sector, working in the manufacturing industry involved labour-intensive and repetitive tasks. However, manufacturers now need employees with a high-tech and analytical skill set. This shift requires businesses to place the development of their talent and the upskilling of their people centre stage.
Businesses must identify their training and skills needs and work in collaboration with government, educational institutes and industry to provide workforce development solutions. Skillnet learning networks in the manufacturing, medtech, connected health, biopharma and technology sectors have seen a greater demand for upskilling solutions in the field of automation, collaborative robotics (or cobotics) and innovation.
Education for Industry 4.0
A recent example is the new Master’s in Digitalisation of Manufacturing, a first of-its-kind master’s level programme to help businesses in Ireland embrace Industry 4.0. The Master’s developed by the Irish Medtech Skillnet with Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) was funded through Skillnet Ireland’s Innovation and Future Skills Programme. This new Master’s will provide businesses with the insight to get ahead of international trends, adopt new technologies, and ensure that people working within the sector here are equipped for the jobs of the future.
Speaking about the programme, course participant Patrick Ruane, Special Project Director with Johnson and Johnson Vision Limerick says: “The extensive integration of Johnson & Johnson supply chain with our equipment and technology partners provides us with unique opportunities for both technology and knowledge convergence. Such integration enables the creation of business and value-added processes, and the linking of manufacturing and high-quality knowledge centric services leading to so-called hybrid processes. This Master of Engineering (Digitalisation of Manufacturing) will provide me with the in-depth understanding of the core technologies to maximise these opportunities.”
Solutions for business and employees
As evidenced through the Master’s in Digitalisation of Manufacturing from Irish Medtech Skillnet, highly innovative and responsive programmes are achievable when businesses help design solutions that best meet their needs.
In a highly dynamic and uncertain world, one thing that’s certain is the need for innovative workforce development solutions that meet both business needs and those of our workforce.