Canada's manufacturing sector, like many other sectors, is going through a transformation. A new wave of energy, innovation and creativity is crucial to driving this change. The force that can help drive this change is our youth - the next generation of thinkers, innovators and leaders. Youth are the catalysts to propel the industry into the newly charted territories of Industry 4.0 and sustainable practices.
To harness this potential, manufacturers can align with future industry needs by embracing new technologies, fostering and mentoring youth in manufacturing careers. This will not only help fill employment shortages today but also help propel progress in key areas.
Investing in the Future of Manufacturing
Both federal and provincial governments are investing in programs to develop manufacturing skills in youth, ensuring a strong workforce for tomorrow's industry.
Funded programs like EMC's suite of Work Integrated Learning programs aim to support the next generation of workers with foundational skills training in areas of communication, managing conflict and difficult interactions, effective problem solving and more. These skills are developed at manufacturing facilities alongside work-integrated / on-the-job training for youth. Work integrated learning programs are designed to introduce today’s youth to viable career options within the sector.
EMC is currently offering two national work integrated learning programs, WILWorks Post Secondary and WILWorks Skilled Trades in Advanced Manufacturing. This fall, EMC launched BC Youth In Manufacturing, for manufacturers in British Columbia, and WILWorks Youth in Manufacturing, for Atlantic Canadian manufacturers. These programs create pathways for youth to enter the manufacturing sector.
By providing students and young professionals with access to work experiences and education in the fundamentals of manufacturing, these initiatives can support a well-rounded workforce of industry professionals capable of driving innovation in today's global market, both now and in the future.
Embracing the Digital Age
In Plant Magazine's 2023 Advanced Manufacturing Report, sponsored by EMC, 89% of companies cite a lack of skilled workforce as a reason for not investing in technology . With their digital savvy, youth can help implement cutting-edge technologies and streamline operations.
Today's youth are digital natives. Digital skills like data analytics, coding, machine learning and cybersecurity are becoming increasingly important in manufacturing. Moreover, cutting-edge technologies like IoT, 3D printing, and robotics in manufacturing processes can streamline
operations, increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact. Youth can help spearhead the implementation of these technologies, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to problem-solving.
Encouraging a culture of digital literacy and continuous learning includes:
- Providing opportunities for upskilling and reskilling.
- Fostering a collaborative environment where ideas can be freely shared.
- Encouraging the exploration of new technologies.
In this scenario, youth are uniquely positioned to assist the current workforce in adopting new technologies, helping manufacturers overcome the skills gaps that will inevitably widen as this transition progresses.
Fostering Future Leaders Through Mentorship
Establishing robust mentorship programs can facilitate the transfer of knowledge from seasoned professionals to the leaders of tomorrow. This strategy promotes a culture of continuous learning and growth, ensuring that invaluable industry insights are passed on to the next generation.
In the rapidly evolving manufacturing world, where technology and innovation are at the forefront, mentorship programs are more vital than ever. These programs bridge skills gaps, foster innovation and enhance employee retention.
EMC's recognizes mentorship's critical role in shaping the industry's future. EMC is actively investing in the next generation of manufacturing leaders by offering mentorship training for employers, helping upskill current employees so your organization can see success in fostering youth's careers in the manufacturing sector.
In summary, the role of young people in shaping the future of manufacturing in Canada cannot be underestimated. By empowering them through education, embracing technology, focusing on sustainability and fostering leadership through mentorship, we can ensure a prosperous and innovative future for the manufacturing industry.
Shape the Future: Collaborate with young talents, infusing your operations with fresh ideas and perspectives.
Build a Skilled Workforce: Develop the skills and expertise needed for tomorrow's manufacturing landscape.
Strengthen Community Ties: Play a pivotal role in creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged individuals, women, and Indigenous youth.