It’s a great time to start focusing on robotics and automation, says Chief Workforce Officer of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, Lisa Masciantonio, because it will provide a lifelong learning journey with continuing opportunities for career evolution. Robotics and automation technologies and changing and expanding rapidly and that means that manufacturers need a workforce that can keep pace with the changes. Masciantonio sees a large skills gap that her Institute is addressing with new competency models, program audits and endorsements. In the podcast, she describes three levels of robotics technicians:
We’ve created, with our experts across our ecosystem, a competency framework, focused on the Industry 4.0 robotic career pathways, where you look at the competencies at the robotic technician level. Those are the fundamental skills. Things like mechanical systems, maintenance and troubleshooting, electronics and controls, electrical systems, safety, robot programming, fluid power, PLC.
As they become more experienced, and they get more on-the-job training, they would become more specialized. They’d move into an advanced Industry 4.0 Specialist role.
Then a big gap in the manufacturing workforce is at the Robotic Integrator level. What we’re learning that the manufacturers themselves are actually in need of very experienced people to focus on the internal workings of using that automated equipment or that robot. And they would be focused on really key, more applied technologies like augmented reality or virtual reality, simulations, offline programming—making sure that the systems are interoperable across the manufacturing floor.