2. Fear of New Technology Adoption Among Older Workers
Many manufacturing businesses still use outdated equipment to run their operations. They are also employing older workers who are familiar with these equipment and are resistant to change. The challenge for any small manufacturing business is to convince their existing and older workforce to have an open mind to adopting new technologies. There is always that initial fear of failure, rejection, incompetence and lack of knowledge. However with the right partnerships, the business can tie-up with the right technical schemes and grants to execute skills enhancement programmes to quickly get these older workers up to speed and feel far more useful and relevant to match today’s current pace of change.
For example, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) has formed partnerships with training institutions, such as the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre, Institute of High Performance Computing, Singapore Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, the Harbin Institute of Technology Robot Group and Singapore Centre for 3D Printing, Univac Precision Engineering Pte. Ltd. (UNIVAC) to offer a set of advanced manufacturing masterclasses, workshops and events across various manufacturing sectors.
Masterclasses include the ones in Optical Engineering, micro-learning courses for all models of industrial robots, smart manufacturing systems and automation operating skills across basic and intermediate levels. There are also online micro-learning courses that are tailored to different requirements of AM job roles and allow for learning at work without leaving the office.
As part of the new Advanced Manufacturing (AM) continuing education and training (CET) strategy, the initiative aims to cover talent attraction, retention and skills development to ensure a skilled and ready Singapore AM workforce. Key enablers of the AM CET strategy include:
- SkillsFuture Series in Advanced Manufacturing
Delivered by the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and quality training providers, courses are aligned to the Singapore Smart Industry Readiness Index to upskill and reskill existing workforce in areas like Automation, Connectivity and Intelligence.
- Simulated Production Environments
More platforms for enterprises and their workforce to experiment and test-bed advanced manufacturing technologies through simulated production environments, such as innovation labs jointly set up with IHLs and A*STAR’s factories of the future.
- Process Redesign Programmes
Enterprise and productivity innovation programmes to help companies redesign their processes to support automation and digitalisation. The programmes include SME Qiang, Operations Management Innovation (OMNI) and LEAN Manufacturing.
- Talent Attraction Programmes
Partnerships with employers through work-learn programmes, such as SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programmes, Adapt and Grow Professional Conversion Programmes and SkillsFuture Work-Learn Bootcamp, to groom and grow AM talent. Employers who send their workers to these masterclasses may receive funding of up to 70 per cent from the WDA, while small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may get up to 90 per cent subsidies on the cost of programmes.