Changing the Mindset
The topic of appropriate education pathways and rebalancing the curriculum engulfed the discussions at a recent ‘Future of work’ event, attended by Manufacturing NI at the W5 organised by PWC. How is the current curriculum preparing students for world of work? Do we need to rebalance it accepting that we are in an industrial revolution and thus the need for more creative thinking and career related learning linked to industry? Does the responsibility for developing soft skills such as resilience, empathy, creativity lie with the education system, parents or through extra-curricular activities? Whilst we didn’t find a miraculous fix or a silver bullet, it was clear that a one size fits all approach doesn’t work.
When it comes to a career in manufacturing however, a solid foundation in STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) can be seen as the basement for a successful manufacturing career. High interest and basic understanding in science, technology and engineering fields can enable further training in complex manufacturing techniques. High-level mathematic skills are necessary to deal with calculation tasks ranging from machine set-ups to production planning activities. Advanced STEM skills enable employees to invent and operate new manufacturing technologies and products.
Other Soft Skills such as problem solving, creative and entrepreneurial thinking are just as important in this important transition. These skills are exactly what is needed to manage digital production equipment. They enable humans to solve problems and to make fast decisions based on insufficient and new information and fostering fast innovation.