Skills Shift Initiative pilot

During the year, Competenz partnered with The Manufacturers’ Network to understand New Zealand’s engineering and manufacturing sector’s readiness for technological disruption, automation and mechanisation, commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0. This was part of the Skills Shift Initiative led by The Manufacturers’ Network and funded by the Future of Work Forum and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

We supported a nationwide survey of engineering and manufacturing businesses, and Samantha McNaughton, GM Learning Design and Innovation and Bill Newson, Competenz Board Member were selected for the expert advisory panel to peer review the findings and research report, as well as provide input into recommendations.

The final report, published in November 2019, points to a significant future demand for technological, social and emotional skills, and a significant drop in demand for manual and gross motor skills. It reinforces the need for a significant skills shift in the sector to both realise the potential of automation, and navigate its effects.

In New Zealand, an increasing number of manufacturers are starting to – or considering how to – make use of the data from the factory floor to feed into digital systems and decision making. However, digital confidence among operational workers is a key focus for immediate skill development for many businesses.

While technology and automation are expected to reduce manual labour in the coming decade, this does not necessarily mean a reduction in staff numbers. Instead labour skills will be improved, with staff retraining into roles that are not reliant on highly manual and repetitive tasks.

Competenz will pilot a programme in 2020 aimed at improving the digital literacy skills of manufacturing workers, as part of the Skills Shift Initiative. The pilot is expected to attract keen interest from other sectors as they consider how to successfully manage their own changing skills needs in future.

You can read the full research report here

Preparing for Industry 4.0