The EU MachinE Tool ALliance for Skills (METALS) project, coordinated by CECIMO, the European association for the Machine Tool and Additive Manufacturing industry, has concluded with the release of a free online course on the fundamentals of Additive Manufacturing. The course includes a total of twenty-seven learning units divided along three main subject areas – knowledge on AM, work-process and entrepreneurship – covering both technical and soft skills needs in Additive Manufacturing.
The METALS project is said to be the result of a comprehensive partnership spanning Germany, Italy and Spain, involving key stakeholders in AM workforce development, from industry and vocational training institutes to local training regulators and research bodies. The aim of the project was to increase the competitiveness of the European machine tool industry by providing the sector with the skills needed to benefit from new disruptive technologies.
Following the completion of surveys, workshops and interviews with a number of European machine tool experts, the project partners concluded that in the portfolio of innovative technologies in the machine tool sector, AM is a key area for training since it is on the verge of industrialisation. The online AM learning course, which is available in English, German, Italian and Spanish, intends to support AM workforce development.
The project also aimed to raise policymakers’ awareness about the importance of AM skills for the European advanced manufacturing sector. METALS developed a position paper which called on Vocational Education and Training (VET) regulatory bodies in Europe to develop robust training programmes for AM-skilled workers, and for relevant national accreditation agencies to give priority to AM skills in their respective systems. The paper also called for further promotion of the attractiveness of VET and to increase funding at the disposal of VET institutes for the purchase of necessary technical equipment in the field of Additive Manufacturing.
Filip Geerts, CECIMO’s Director General, stated, “Training and education are important elements for the industrialisation of additive technologies in Europe, which is the objective of CECIMO. With METALS, learners will be able to access relevant online knowledge at no cost and start building their competences to interact with AM. Coupled with hands-on training, which remains essential, initiatives like METALS are useful to increase the overall awareness of what AM concretely is and entails.