The main priority of the Smart-Edu4.0 project is to review, investigate and develop solutions for managing skills gaps in the general manufacturing sector as we transition to factories of the future and Industry 4.0 related smart manufacturing.
- Development of a new international curriculum model in the area of mechatronics for manufacturing.
- Introduction of new degree pathways for fresh industry entrants that are fit for the highly skilled workforce of the future with direct input from global manufacturing knowledge.
- Design of new training pathways for the current low skilled manufacturing workforce in each Programme Country bringing them up to at least the minimum standard required to enable them to compete in this rapidly advancing industry. This will include a mix of apprenticeship training programmes as well as new undergraduate and graduate degree programmes to upskill the existing workforce.
- Development of a lifelong training pathway for the existing workforce in the manufacturing industry that is responsive to continuous technological advancements which will enable them to maintain a competitive edge throughout their career.
- Embedding of mobility in the curriculum through placements, exchanges, summer schools, and joint project supervision.
- Introduction of a joint programme between the partner institutions and beyond, which will allow access to knowledge and deliver skills from diverse fields in Engineering, Computer Science, Data Science and Mathematics, as need to address the challenges of factories of the future.
- Embedding of sustainability as an integral part of the curricula with key principles derived from the UN Sustainable Development Goals in order to train the workforce of the future to have a mindset orientated towards environmental and social sustainability.
From student’s perspective, by participating in the training programmes, they will gain the necessary work skills that prepare them for a successful career in Manufacturing within the Industry 4.0 framework. Absorbing different technologies and scientific fields in a curriculum is a critical challenge for the potential workforce, which can be tackled only by actions initiated and nurtured by international frameworks. The expected impact on the academics involved is expected to be equally valuable and important , as the development of a joint programme including courses such as ‘Manufacturing Cyber-Physical Systems’ and ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ will create opportunities for (i) developing methods for teaching new, timely skills much needed in Industry 4.0 workforce and related researchers, and (ii) creating new research paths and enriching existing collaborations between academics from the four participating institutes.
Potential Long Term Benefits
As industry embraces digitalisation technologies to meet the demands of consumers with regard to mass customisation, quality and cost, while at the same time delivering economically, environmentally and socially sustainable manufacturing into the future, it needs to have recourse to a versatile and digitally skilled work force. The skills gap in this regard is a major barrier for many companies, and is a recognised constraint on economic growth and competitiveness of the manufacturing sectors in the partner institution countries, and across Europe more generally. The Smart-Man project will tackle this problem head-on by aiming to deliver a continuous supply of high quality graduates for the factories of the future.