Future of Manufacturing: Overcoming challenges with the EDGE Hub

2nd October 2019

Robotics have fundamentally changed the future of manufacturing, from their first use in the UK manufacturing industry in the 1980s, to today where they are integral to manufacturing processes and production lines, improving production quality and human safety in a wide range of working environments.

New technology also brings new challenges, including understanding the latest emerging trends and finding skilled employees to implement these technological changes.

Skills shortage in the manufacturing industry

The projected shortfall of 59,000 engineers and technicians per year raises a number of questions for UK manufacturers, especially where robotics and technology are already implemented. How will businesses find the right talent to adopt and use new technologies?

The EDGE Hub in Canterbury aims to help businesses understand and meet the ever-changing manufacturing landscape. We offer them the tools they need to upskill their existing and future workforce and empower them to unlock the potential of new technologies which will in turn help them streamline production and drive productivity.

Facing this challenge with the EDGE Hub

What is the EDGE Hub?

The EDGE Hub is an innovative and ambitious programme developed by Canterbury Christ Church University. The Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub works in partnership with the manufacturing industry to develop an effective response to the challenges posed by the current manufacturing skills shortage.

Aims of the EDGE Hub

The EDGE Hub brings together thought leaders, employers and educators to:

  • engage with young people in outreach,
  • create a pipeline of future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workers,
  • develop industry-relevant undergraduate, postgraduate and apprenticeship courses,
  • work with businesses and industry to develop their understanding of the changing context,
  • design a CPD/ short course programme to bridge the skills gap.

Working with graduates to overcome the skills gap

Alongside the manufacturing industry, Canterbury Christ Church University’s EDGE Hub is designing a curriculum to deliver the hard and soft skills needed to produce work-ready graduates, particularly from traditionally under-represented groups (e.g. women and BAME).

Our graduates – tomorrow’s engineers – will be entering professions with a host of known and unknown challenges and opportunities, including integration of Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0, and we are committed to providing them with the skills to thrive and the working knowledge to succeed.

However, it is not enough to produce a new generation of engineers – we must make sure that employers are ready for them.

Preparing employers to face the new manufacturing challenges

Working with manufacturers in Kent

The EDGE Hub is committed to delivering an ambitious range of engagements with the manufacturing industry, ranging from:

  • CPD and short courses to train their current workforce, including insights into Industry 4.0; Festo automation technology; cyber-security; exoskeleton robotics; and Internet of Things,
  • research projects, to curriculum design and student projects and placements, to provide them with the skills they will need in the future.

These programmes are designed to help businesses understand the future of manufacturing and the full potential of emerging technology trends, as well as embrace future trends to streamline their current processes.

Rethinking the manufacturing work environment

Robotics and automated systems are far from deskilling the workforce. In fact, more skilled professionals are needed to rethink and redesign the working environment and harness the potential of robotics.

The manufacturing industry needs a skilled workforce to design, commission, install, programme, support, analyse and maintain robotic systems, and ultimately to maximise their commercial potential for business. The EDGE Hub aims to train the engineers and technicians of the future.

Are you robotics ready? To find out more about the EDGE Hub and our short courses, email [email protected].

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