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Eliminating the Automotive Industry Skills Gap

Eliminating the Automotive Industry Skills Gap

Car manufacturing is increasingly complex, with advanced and fast-changing equipment down the assembly line. Companies can deliver training systems that are convenient, compelling and intuitive.

Because the automotive industry depends on the use of machinery, not simple laptops and internet routers in traditional offices, it’s critical automotive manufacturers cultivate a company culture that emphasizes safety practices.

Safety should be at the top of the list of training priorities, along with keeping employees current on technical knowledge and skills.

Car manufacturing is increasingly complex, with advanced and fast-changing equipment up and down the assembly line. Safety and technology may seem boring to learn, but auto companies can make it more interactive and engaging by doing away with the monotonous training manuals. Companies can deliver training systems that are convenient, compelling and intuitive.

This intra-company training is becoming increasingly necessary as the automotive industry faces a deep skills gap.

Widening Skills Gap

Filling manufacturing jobs, especially in the automotive industry, is quickly becoming a crisis. A recent report from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that the U.S. will create 3.5 million manufacturing jobs during the next decade, but some 2 million of those will remain unfilled because of a lack of qualified candidates.

Attending a 4-year college is the typical education trajectory high school students are encouraged to follow, but these institutions often don’t offer programs focused on the automotive industry. The manufacturing industry and higher education/vocational training establishments need to work together to promote such jobs as viable and rewarding career paths and provide the needed apprenticeships and internships to make these careers a possibility.

In the meantime, as the collaboration between traditional education and the manufacturing world develops, it’s more important than ever companies do their part to train their potential and existing workforce.

Skills Quickly Expire

The growing skills gap evident in the automotive industry is made worse by quickly perishable skills. And even those engineers and other employees with college degrees aren’t learning everything they need to know in college, or learning lasting skills. A 2015 study from Bridge by Instructure surveyed more than 500 college-educated workers throughout the U.S. and found that 75% believe knowledge and skills in their field become quickly outdated. In addition, 90% agreed changes in their field required them to update knowledge and learn new professional skills.

To make matters worse, regulations and standards always are changing in the automotive industry and employees need to quickly adapt to new rules and update their skills. To solve these issues, employers can deliver training that can be easily distributed and consumed so employees can be updated on recent information without losing time or productivity.

Here’s how to implement an effective training system in your automotive company:

  • Focus on Safety

In warehouses and factories that involve intensive labor and managing machinery, accidents are much more likely to happen. Nearly 150 American employees die as a result of their work every day and Americans are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than from a terrorist attack.

To prevent accidents and even fatalities from happening in the garage or factory, employers should focus their training on safety measures.

  • Push Training to Mobile

Because of the dispersed nature of your workforce, you should make training accessible from anywhere through a mobile learning management platform. With a mobile-optimized platform, employers and employees are able to access training 24/7 on any device from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Eighty percent of employees are turning to their mobile devices for continuing education – and are learning from sources on the internet, according to the Bridge study. Interrupt this self-education by meeting employees where they are by investing in web-based mobile training programs.

  • Encourage Simply Created and Easily Consumed Content

Companies should implement a system that helps managers and leaders simply author a training course without needing special computer-engineering skills. These company leaders should create short, streamlined training to guarantee employee compliance and engagement.

As crazy as it seems, the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015; therefore, it’s vital for information retention that you create easily consumed content.

Cultivating a company culture of learning through on-the-job education and training can improve safety compliance and practices and decrease the risk of accidents in warehouses and factories. Effective training also can increase company productivity. Research from the Brandon Hall Group found that 54% of companies using learning technology see productivity and engagement improve from its implementation.

Investing in the education of your employees delivers a strong ROI that will help your company flourish.

Jeff Weber is senior vice president-People and Places at Bridge by Instructure. His more than two decades of human resources experience enables him to manage the people and places functions for Instructure’s rapidly growing, global technology team of employees.

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