Tooling U-SME, the workforce development segment of SME, has launched a portfolio of Additive Manufacturing learning and development solutions which includes access to specialised training packages, apprenticeship programs and what is claimed to be the industry’s first certification programme. This new offering is aimed at supporting manufacturers that want to increase their Additive Manufacturing operations, as well as schools looking to prepare their students for careers in modern manufacturing.
Additive Manufacturing is a rapidly developing market, and the evolution of the technology is quickly outpacing product design and development, states Tooling U-SME. As a result, there is a recognised need for continuous training and development to ensure that the manufacturing workforce keeps up with the latest advancements. 22
According to the recently released ‘Wohlers Report 2017’, the Additive Manufacturing industry achieved revenues of $6.063 billion in 2016 – and with growth of 4.3 times that forecast over the next five years, the market is estimated to reach about $26.2 billion by 2022. “Restructuring the workforce to accommodate increased Additive Manufacturing operations is a major concern for companies that want to ramp up work in this market,” stated Jeannine Kunz, Vice President of Tooling U-SME. “More and more, manufacturers are increasing the number of additive-made parts in products, so having a workforce with the right skills to use this new technology is an increasingly important priority for companies and schools.”
SME added that it has been at the forefront of Additive Manufacturing for decades, starting in 1990 with the creation of the event now known as RAPID + TCT, a gathering point for users and developers of AM in North America. SME’s partnership with America Makes also led to the development of the Additive Manufacturing Leadership Initiative, a collaborative working group representing SME, America Makes, the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing and Materials.
The new Additive Manufacturing Fundamentals Certification is reportedly the first and only nationally normalised, stackable or sequential credential process in Additive Manufacturing. This assessment serves as a prerequisite for the next phase, the Additive Manufacturing Technician Certification, which SME states will be rolled out later in 2017. These stackable certifications may lead to Additive Manufacturing apprenticeships such as those supported by Tooling U-SME through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Program.
“Tooling U-SME works with companies and educational institutions to build holistic workforce learning and development solutions that align to our certification and apprenticeship programs,” added Kunz. “Through our Turnkey Training, online classes, instructor-led training and supporting video materials, we’re able to provide the incumbent and future Additive Manufacturing workforce with industry-leading training that will ensure their success in the market.”
Preparation for the Additive Certifications is supported by eight online classes offered by Tooling U-SME. These classes were developed in conjunction with Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, USA.