As manufacturing moves towards Industry 4.0, the latest revolution in the sector’s development, educating the workforce becomes an increasingly critical challenge. Siemens Cooperates with Education (SCE) is a program that proactively addresses this challenge.
As defined by the global consultant Deloitte, “the term Industry 4.0 encompasses a promise of a new industrial revolution—one that marries advanced manufacturing techniques with the Internet of Things to create a digital manufacturing enterprise that is not only interconnected, but communicates, analyzes, and uses information to drive further intelligent action back in the physical world.”
Analysts agree that having a workforce with the necessary skills to perform and thrive in this transformed industrial ecosystem is a challenge that is real and immediate:
- Deloitte: “The skills gap is an issue that has reached the boiling point. The same old approaches aren’t enough to close the gap.”
- Frost & Sullivan: “Users’ top challenges include the retiring workforce and their replacement with appropriate talent. The lack of automation experts and training of the millennial workforce add to the challenges.”
- McKinsey: “On the one hand, almost 40 percent of American employers say they cannot find people with the skills they need, even for entry-level jobs. Almost 60 percent complain of lack of preparation, even for entry-level jobs. On the other hand, this ‘skills gap’ represents a massive pool of untapped talent, and it has dire consequences, including economic underperformance, social unrest, and individual despair.”
Ten million new skilled workers will be needed by the end of the decade. The problem is indeed one of education, but also of demographics: The average age of today’s tradesperson is 56 years old, which translates to many retiring in five to 15 years.
For responsible manufacturers, making a commitment to the next generation of workers is not only the right thing to do—it’s necessary if they are to move forward successfully as Industry 4.0 and digital manufacturing become the standard operating model in the sector. This means establishing relationships with—and making an investment in—the educational institutions that will train this new workforce.
Siemens Cooperates with Education (SCE)
At the college and university level, the Siemens Cooperates with Education program offers deep product discounts on the very same technologies used in today’s digital factories. Students earn certificates and teachers can take advantage of free technical training and curriculum, along with other benefits, when their institutions become partner schools with SCE.
The program was introduced in the United States in 2008. By 2012, 70 schools were engaged as part of SCE, a number that rose to 200 in 2014 and 400 in 2016. In 2016, more than 20,000 students were trained in the U.S. in SCE partnership programs, whose features include employer-validated curriculum and industry credential program tracking for students and instructors.
The pillars of SCE are designed to connect industry to education:
- Practice-oriented projects and exercises for use in vocational training and field-related coursework for industrial automation
- More than 90 adaptable course modules for engineering and technology covering beginner through advanced levels
Classroom courses are offered with hands-on training, including:
- Complimentary summer workshops for qualified educators
- Complimentary SITRAIN industrial training classes open to educators
- Trainer packages
Leading technologies are provided, with deep discounts for schools:
- More than 80 trainer packages for practice-oriented education priced at 60 to 90 percent below industry pricing
- Innovative hardware and software components, including any accessories
- Ongoing support
Technical and product support are available for projects and book authors. Participants receive unlimited access to Siemens local partners:
- Dedicated partnerships assist with all Siemens-related questions
- Free unlimited technical support and access to the Siemens SCE hotline
What’s more, SCE’s digitalization concept offers support to educational institutions in six critical areas:
- High-level languages and IT technologies
- PLC basics
- Visual simulation and commissioning
- Automation technologies
- Automation systems
- Smart data
While SCE focuses on higher learning, the program is just one part of Siemens’ broad scale initiative in the education effort. From vocational training to workforce employer training, from apprenticeships and soft skills training to academic and research partnerships, Siemens is recognizing the demand for ongoing educational programs and the importance of providing hands-on learning with relevant technologies.
The Siemens Foundation has invested more than $90 million in the United States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research, and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens’ companies. Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are narrowing the opportunity gap for young people in the U.S. in STEM careers, and igniting and sustaining today’s STEM workforce and tomorrow’s scientists and engineers.
Siemens Cooperates with Education is an important part of that effort, helping in the essential work of preparing the next generation of workers to take advantage of the huge opportunities the digital manufacturing revolution offers.
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