A recent 2022 survey from ABB of U.S. and European business leaders revealed that 74% of European and 70% of U.S. businesses are planning to re- or nearshore operations. Respondents said they were reshoring to help build supply chain resilience in response to labor shortages, the need for a more sustainable global footprint and global uncertainty.
However, the talent has to be there to work at the factories coming back to the U.S. and the survey revealed a significant education gap in the skills necessary to staff plants. Workers will need skills in automation as 75% of European and 62% of U.S. businesses surveyed planning to invest in robotics and automation in the next three years to facilitate this shift in operations.Of the global education professionals surveyed, 80% believe robotics and automation will shape the future of employment in the next ten years, while only one in four education institutions currently use robots as part of their teaching programs.
“We need significant investment in continuous education to prepare our existing and future workforce to thrive in an age of robotics and automation, important not only to prepare for the widespread shifts we are seeing but to create prosperous societies going forward,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business, in a statement.
To help bridge the skills gap, ABB has bolstered its global Robotics and Automation education program with new training centers, including its EUR 100m global innovation and training campus in Austria. The new site, along with other new regional training centers in the UK, Berlin and Brazil expands ABB’s training facilities to over 40 sites globally, educating more than 30,000 students from schools, colleges and universities, as well as apprentices and workers each year.
The sites add to ABB’s existing educational offering, which consists of software packages, including ABB’s Wizard Easy programming, RobotStudio and RobotStudio AR Viewer App, as well as hardware in the form of collaborative robot cells and application packages. Through more than 100 global partnerships with schools and universities, ABB generates curriculum materials with education providers to help educate future generations and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.
“Change needs to happen now,” added Atiya. “As companies turn to robotic automation to offset labor shortages, improve efficiency and increase resilience, workers need the skillsets to use automation to perform their jobs and augment their own roles. Businesses need to join forces, cooperating with education institutions and Governments to ensure that society is prepared for jobs of the future. Only through this can we fully utilize flexible automation and unlock value from the ongoing re-industrialization.”