FANUC UK: IT’S NOW OR NEVER TO BRIDGE THE SKILLS GAP

Coventry-based FANUC UK is urging manufacturers across the country to prioritise skills and training for young people in 2018.

Since launching its purpose-built training facility in Ansty Park last May, the company has seen overwhelming demand for its robotics, robo-machines and CNC programming courses, as well as its long-standing apprenticeship scheme.

Anthony Bentham, customer services manager at FANUC UK, said: “Our training-related services have been extremely popular over the past year, demonstrating the value individuals and organisations are placing in automation-based skills.”

With talk of a “skills gap” continuing to make headlines, however, FANUC UK is now calling on manufacturers to develop their own initiatives to promote careers in manufacturing to a new generation.

“There are several concerns at the moment,” Anthony says. ‘’One is the slow uptake of manufacturing and engineering careers by young people. The other is the fact that many school-leavers are currently entering the profession without the skills that employers need.”

Mr Bentham suggests that the solution lies in promoting and prioritising practical-based training as a viable alternative to university degrees.

“Manufacturing isn’t immune from fast-paced technological change, and this needs to be reflected in our approach to skills and training. Apprenticeships, for example, provide a great opportunity for young people to build practical experience and forge links with industry, yet many young people still see further education as the more advantageous career path.”

FANUC UK takes on many apprentices each year, such as 22-year-old Harrison Pacey, who works as a technical apprentice. He says: “I chose FANUC because of its reputation, and its brand name. Since working here, I’ve learned many skills, including how to commission robots before they are sent to customers. It’s FANUC-focused, but everything I’ve learned is transferable.”

Anthony continues: “Most of our apprentices go on to achieve successful careers within manufacturing, whether that’s at FANUC or elsewhere. In fact, we have many senior team members who started as apprentices, and who are now entering their second – and even third – decades of employment here. These are the kind of success stories we need to be promoting to young people if we are to prove that success does not begin and end with a university degree.

“As an industry, I’d suggest that we make 2018 the year of apprenticeships and training, by taking a more proactive and collaborative approach to skills-based learning. If we can do this, then we can make 2018 the year that UK productivity prospers.”

For more information on FANUC UK’s apprenticeship programmes, please visit: http://www.fanuc.eu/uk/en/who-we-are/human-resources/apprenticeship. You can also find out more about its Ansty Park training facility here: http://www.fanuc.eu/uk/en/lifetime-management/academy

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