STEM & Workforce Training
Robotics Education Lagging Behind Demand, Surveys Find
Swiss-based automation technology company ABB recently announced that robotics and automation training are lagging behind increased global demand, according to two surveys it conducted this year on supply chain and education.
While 80% of education professionals say robotics and automation skill sets will become crucial to employment in the near future, only one in four institutions worldwide are teaching them, the surveys found. This is in stark contrast to results showing that on average 70% of US and European businesses plan to invest in robotics and automation over the next three years, driven by supply chain issues. Subsequently, 74% of European and 70% of US businesses are gearing up to reshore or nearshore their manufacturing back to their home or adjacent countries to reduce costs and improve delivery by relying on automation to accomplish it.
“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 Sam Atiya , president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business.
ABB partners with education institutions such as Illinois State University, Normal, in order to fill the gap. The Department of Technology employs ABB’s RobotStudio, a programming software that trains students to create and test robotic solutions virtually. “One trend that I think we’re clearly seeing is an increased demand for our graduates,” said Kevin Devine, College of Applied Science and Technology professor. “The industry is clamoring right now for qualified people and we’re having a lot of trouble meeting that need.”
ABB has added new Robotics and Education program training centers to its 40 existing ones, with the latest located in Austria. These centers have educated more than 30,000 students from schools, colleges, and universities, as well as apprentices and workers each year, ABB said in a release, through more than 100 global partnerships.
“Businesses need to join forces, cooperating with education institutions and governments to ensure that society is prepared for jobs of the future,” Atiya added. “Only through this can we fully utilize flexible automation and unlock value from the ongoing re-industrialization.”
To learn more, visit ABB’s Robotics in Education page.
Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.