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The Importance of Upskilling in the Welsh Manufacturing Sector

Philip Barnes
30 September 2019

Manufacturing in Wales

The Advanced Materials and Manufacturing sector is recognised as a hugely important sector for Wales's economic prosperity.  It is one of the largest employers, after the public sector, with higher than average GAV (gross added value) and has been described by both Welsh and UK Governments as strategically important for the prosperity of the nation.

Skills shortages have been highlighted as a barrier to future success in a number of industries including engineering, aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical, food and drink and furniture manufacturing.

Whilst the UK has a strong heritage in materials, manufacturing and engineering innovation, it invests less in science and engineering than competitor nations, and yet STEM skills are identified as being critical to the most dynamic sectors in the economy, particularly in manufacturing. 

Skills partnerships across Wales have all developed action plans aimed at supporting skills development across Wales. They have highlighted the importance of skills in the Manufacturing sector, emphasising the need for training and identifying skills shortages in technical subject areas. If the skills gap is not bridged this will represent a significant barrier to the future success of this critical sector in Wales.

The skills shortage must be considered against the context of an ever-changing economy and the emergence of many disruptive technologies which are requiring industry to fundamentally change and challenge well established processes and procedures adopted throughout the manufacturing sector.

For example, within the automotive sector there is significant evolution in powertrain technology with a move away from traditional fossil fuels and the adoption of electrical drive trains. These changes require the industry to look at developing new and innovative battery technologies, dynamos and specialised materials, which are fundamental to both the technologies and the manufacturing methods.

Companies across the manufacturing sector must diversify their technology portfolios to evolve with rapidly changing environmental and economic conditions. STEM skills underpin many of the products and processes within the Manufacturing sector, which is critical to the economy. As companies move away from commodity products towards higher technological goods, it is these skills which will contribute towards future competitiveness and increased productivity of Welsh industry. 

Why not find out how our METaL courses may be able to assist your business with your skills development needs.