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Young People Key To Future Of Manufacturing

The EMA says it is no secret that manufacturing remains one of the key sectors to bring about the transformation of the economy needed in the wake of COVID-19.

The challenge is how to tempt the young people desperately needed across all industries to choose it as a career and fill the ever-widening skills shortage?

"Kiwi manufacturing companies are at the cutting edge, constantly morphing to meet customer needs globally and keeping up with technology change," says EMA Head of Advocacy and Strategy, Alan McDonald.

"There are still antiquated perceptions that manufacturing is dirty, dangerous and does not involve a great deal of thinking, when in fact people who work in manufacturing enjoy fast-paced, supportive workplaces rubbing shoulders with some of the country’s most clever innovators."

To help change this view the EMA asked young people from its member businesses to share stories about their experiences in manufacturing - the links to their videos are below.

"We are inspired by the enthusiasm for their jobs and where it is taking them. They are role models for the next generation of workers who will help drive the transformation of this sector with all of the consequent benefits for their whanau and communities," says Mr McDonald.

He says one of the major issues is the lack of students coming through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, coupled with an ageing workforce as baby boomers start to retire.

"We know that this gap can be filled, for example through better engagement with schools and apprenticeships, short form training and micro credentials. Manufacturing as a career choice will give young people a range of skills they can take anywhere, get paid well for and which gives them endless career options," he says.

Through its member businesses the EMA knows that to address productivity restrictions caused by the skills shortages, manufacturers are improving processes and implementing technology improves, called Industry 4.0.

"New Zealand has high tech manufacturers doing globally significant work and there is no doubt we need people to learn the latest digital techniques that will support a productivity boost that is good for the sector and for the country’s economy as a whole," says Mr McDonald.

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