Across the UK, there are skills shortages in a wide range of industries.

Organisations are looking for radical new ways to deliver training and engage with learners that have fallen out of love with learning a trade.

Welding and Fabrication are skills that permeate almost every area of our daily lives without us realising it. From building and repairing vehicles to construction in residential and commercial properties, these are skills that we need to keep alive.

Metaverse Learning brought together experts from within the industry to share their thoughts on the future of training for Welding and Fabrication learners.

Hugh McPhillips, Industry Expert, and Derek Cockfield from WorldSkills UK talked about the skills shortages within the UK and how we can use training to close those skills gaps.

You can watch the full webinar here or read on for our round-up of the key takeaways.

 

What are the challenges?

The UK has slowly moved away from being a manufacturing country to one that is focused on service-based jobs. We have then outsourced our manufacturing needs which has created challenges around quality control, sustainability, politics and people exploitation. It has also meant the erosion of a workforce with essential skills that are now needed to fill contracts. For example, there is a skills requirement to meet the Nuclear Build programme in the UK of 45,000 people, 30,000 of which are in welding and fabrication roles.

In addition, one-fifth of the engineering workforce is due to retire in the next five years. This doesn’t even consider other industries, such as automotive and construction, where the same skills shortages in the same areas of expertise and advanced manufacturing techniques are occurring.

Finally, UK employers spend just half the European average on employee training. With engineering departments closing across education, this type of training has become less accessible.

 

A radical approach to delivering skills training

Creating a holistic approach to training using a combination of traditional classroom training, hands-on learning, and technology such as Metaverse Learning programs can help us to train our future workforce in new skills and upskill existing workers.

Technology has moved at an incredible pace and VR training platforms, augmented reality platforms and immersive learning are just some examples of how it can now be used to engage with learners. They don’t need to be confined to a classroom and this is where we can start to see success in delivering training quickly, efficiently and safely.

Using competitions, like the ones created by WorldSkills UK, also provides a route to raising the standards of talent within the industry. They have worked with industry partners to understand what is needed within the talent pipeline and by the industry to create the competitions that will test the right skills for this workforce of the future.

By incorporating technology such as immersive learning platforms learners can be empowered to make decisions and mistakes in a safe environment. They can hone their skills and practice through education in the metaverse so they have the confidence to carry out their role when they start work.

Virtual reality and virtual environments provide an immersive learning experience that will engage learners and help them to reach the standards required for their new role.

Making immersive learning technology part of the training landscape will help us as a nation to close the skills gap in the industry and create a skilled workforce.

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