Training the next generation of plant workers

Digitizing knowledge transfer and training practices may be the key to reaching the incoming workforce.

By Naomi Price

Preparing a new generation of workers for careers in industry is challenging enough. Add to that a demographic wave of retirement among experienced workers, new technologies with as yet undefined requisite skills, and our propensity to informally pass knowledge from senior workers to new recruits like tales around a campfire, and industry today finds itself in a skills development crisis.

“One of the things we’ve been wrestling with is how to digitize that tribal knowledge and essentially institutionalize things like best practices and present it in a medium that the new workforce can take advantage of,” explained Rob McGreevy during a panel discussion on these and other personnel productivity issues at Smart Industry 2015 in Chicago.

McGreevy, VP information, operations & asset management at Schneider Electric and responsible for business operations, said that the new generation of workers come in expecting things to be mobile and solution-oriented. This is a large change for an industry where the environment has traditionally been more modular and protected. “Simulation and training using virtual reality,” said McGreevy, “is one way of taking counter-performing test activities and, for example, instead giving a test simulation on how to deal with a fire.”

To learn more about the evolving workforce, read “New tools simulate, augment industrial reality” from Smart Industry.

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