Digital Catalysts and the Future of British Manufacturing

3rd May 2019
Posted By : Anna Flockett
Digital Catalysts and the Future of British Manufacturing

Did you know 40% of UK manufacturers are worried about skills? Skills are not like they used to be as, Asif Moghal explained during a panel talk at the IoT tech Expo last week in London. He said the skills required now need to be able to take businesses through to the next stage, and people need qualities such as flexible manufacturing, customer experience, connected services and mass customisation.

The Digital Catalyst Programme places students that have learnt these skills at schools and universities into SMES for 80 hours to help solve problems.

On the panel William Bridgman, Chairman at Warren Services, said: “A lot of businesses perceive their future to be very complex, and think they are missing out. However if they just stood back and looked at some of the younger workers, they would see so much potential there.”

This is because most businesses have this fear that is holding them back and it’s totally unnecessary. If you look at businesses that have invested in young people you can really see that they prosper.

Steve Cox, Digital Catalyst Programme Manager, at FOBMI Autodesk (Future of British Manufacturing Initiative) explained it can be very hard to get hold of people within the industry as they are so busy. “But once we are in touch with SMEs often they don’t just want one digital catalyst, they want multiple. It really does work well for both sides, as it introduces students to SMEs and with these connections it opens up so many doors for them.”

Cox added: “SMEs are the blood flow to the UK and we need to keep them going. At university students often gravitate towards blue chip companies, but SMEs are so important to the UK.”

Umar Hossain, Digital Catalyst student at FOBMI expressed: “It was really nice to implement skills I had learnt through my education and then use them in a real life situation. It is a really great short project that gives me so much more information and experiences about what it’s like going into an engineering consultancy.” He continued by explaining how he learnt how to communicate with people properly in the industry and the programme really opens up so many doors and opportunities for you.

Hossain is a PhD student in the Biomechanics Research Group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London. He also explained that his research focuses on the use of additively manufactured or 3D printed metal in bone implants in orthopaedic devices. “I have been involved in teaching roles for five different courses across both the Mechanical Engineering department and the new Dyson School of Design Engineering and have loved every moment of it.”

He also runs CAD and design workshops for like-minded engineers and makers, often in conjunction with the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace. He concluded the talk: “There is a skills gap but we can actively do something about it.”


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