METALS: the MachinE Tool ALliance for Skills – A new initiative by CECIMO

08 January 2016

The new initiative METALS - MachinE Tool ALliance for Skills is being set in motion by CECIMO, the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries. METALS aims at providing machine tool builders with the sought-after applied skills they need in line with disruptive technologies in the advanced manufacturing sector. METALS is a three-year project inaugurated under the EU’s Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance initiative, designed to promote education-industry partnerships at European-level within a specific sector of the economy.
New manufacturing technologies generate business opportunities for machine tool builders, but the development of new skills is not commonly supported by vocational education and training (VET) programmes. Therefore, finding a workforce with the right practical competences remains a challenge for many machine tool builders in Europe. Under this light, CECIMO’s German (VDW), Italian (UCIMU) and Spanish (AFM) national associations have developed METALS to improve the relevance of VET in the machine tool industry by bringing together industry representatives, VET providers and regulatory bodies from the three countries. The Alliance first analyses emerging technologies in the sector and builds a skills panorama highlighting the future skills needed by European machine tool builders. In the second phase, the Alliance will design a sector-wide curriculum and gather relevant learning materials which will be available through an e-learning platform for the European machine tool workforce. Metal additive manufacturing, a disruptive technology, will be under the spotlight of METALS.
By bringing together partners from education and industry across Europe, METALS is expected to improve the sector’s labour market intelligence. It will provide policy-makers with the sectorial insights they need to design policies and programmes boosting the competitiveness of European machine tool companies and the employability of its workforce. Throughout the initiative, the consortium will also organize skills workshops in Germany, Spain and Italy with the participation of relevant stakeholders.
The European machine tool industry, composed of over 80% of SMEs, is challenged by the increasing complexity and cost of training programmes caused by breakthrough technologies generated by actors beyond the machine tool industry. “The upcoming machine tool workforce should be trained on new applications, like metal additive manufacturing, to support the global technological leadership of the European machine tool industry. With METALS, our sector has made use of the framework provided by the EU’s Sector Skills Alliance initiative to develop new channels to influence the curriculum delivered in Europe and to supply the industry with the skills actually needed with a long-term strategy” says Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General. It is especially important for European machine tool companies to build a good skills’ supply considering that, according to forecasts, the global machine tool consumption is set to grow from the current level of 60 billion euro to 80 billion euro over the next five years, and the market for additive manufacturing is expected to quadruple by 2022. (Source: Roland Berger Strategy Consultants)

The European Commission recognizes the advanced manufacturing industry as a sector with skills imbalances. Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, METALS develops an education-industry partnership coordinated by CECIMO and involving:

Full press release here