The technological development and the growing cultural maturity towards the use of smart devices has changed the way we think, plan, implement production and support processes in the industrial sector. The introduction of digital models and technological solutions has led to the rethink the structure of industrial products, the technologies used to create these products as well as the whole supply chain. The digital evolution makes changes to the industrial HR organization, transforming both roles AND competences of most professional profiles employed.

The evolution of European industries is supported by digital solutions and is depicted in what is so-called “Industry 4.0”. A survey conducted by the European Social Fund on the monitoring of professional needs of industry reveals a mismatch between demand and supply of labour through the lens of the skills required. Businesses demand workers specialized in digital skills tailored for the industrial sector. It is therefore necessary to introduce advanced training programs that are able to combine specialized sector expertise with a set of e-leadership and specific digital skills.

Industry has been working closely with schools, universities, employment agencies and NGOs to set up innovative programmes to supply people with key skills necessary for the digital transformation. Nevertheless, VET education is yet to develop a link with the industrial sector. Additional specific actions to be deployed – as mentioned in “Recommendations from DIGITALEUROPE – Boosting the skills for the future of digital Europe” (2016) are:

  • Encourage links between digital demand and digital supply to increase digital employment (and reduce the skills gap);
  • Bridge the gap between digital job opportunities, skills of people seeking digital employment, and digital training opportunities (through public and private training organisations)
  • Workers in the industrial sector will have the chance to regularly update their e-skills thanks to the enrichment of the VET and lifelong learning training offer in their local context.
  • Entrepreneurs, ICT managers and HR managers of the industrial sector will be able to modernize their SMEs through an update of their workforce e-skills and will be informed on the advantages of an uptake of ICT in traditional industrial sectors.
  • VET educators and trainers: will have free access to RESTART OERs, thus they may broaden their view on 4.0 industries, digital and ICT skills-sets and be inspired by the good practices shared within the project.
  • VET education providers and centres will be able to use the project’s deliverables to re-design their ICT training and education programmes.
  • Trade unions and HR departments in industrial SMEs: the project might represent a good professional opportunity to suggest to their users and targets. Also, project’s OERs may enrich their knowledge regarding 4.0 industries and it will motivate them on long term to integrate training on digital skills within the workforce continuous training.
  • Public Authorities will have access to 4.0 industry Publication with Case Studies and Policy Recommendations, containing a valuable and referenced context analysis on the opportunities linked to the uptake of digital skills in VET programmes and in industrial clusters.
  • Promote VET initiatives on digital skills targeting self-employed, entrepreneurs, workers, through mixed partnerships involving both training providers and industries, chambers of commerce, trade associations
  • Design training courses to update and requalify workers of the industrial sector, focusing on the uptake of digital skills that are necessary for the development of Industries 4.0
  • Provide e-leadership skills to students, workers and managers that will lead to better employment and career opportunities and make companies more competitive and innovative
  • Foster the recognition across all EU countries of ICT and e-leadership skills applied to the traditional industrial sector through the use of ECVET
  • Mismatch between demand and supply of labour through the lens of the skills required (digital skills).
  • Businesses today demand workers specialized in digital skills tailored for the industrial sector but rarely enact continuous training for their workforce.
  • Absence of recognized VET programs on the topic;
  • Lack of comprehensive studies on the digital and e-leadership skills required for workers in the evolving industrial sector.
  • Feeble synergies between the field of VET and actors in the labor market in the industrial sector.