Defence technology company BAE Systems has appealed for a nationwide effort from the industry, the government, and the education sector to help people develop skills for Industry 4.0.
According to BAE Systems chief technology officer Nigel Whitehead, defence, engineering, aerospace, and manufacturing sectors have to work together and give priority to investment in digital and soft skills, upskilling and retraining and in supporting supply chains and SMEs. This, Whitehead said will help in responding to the expected complexity levels in industrial and business systems and very high demand from technologies like artificial intelligence.
Whitehead said that businesses in these sectors have to give their employees a more diverse, flexible, and inclusive workplace to suit various working preferences and lifestyles.
Furthermore, Whitehead wants a nationwide programme of activity to be held to enhance the perception of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and careers, in order to help address the shortage of engineers in the UK.
The BAE Systems chief technology officer also wants the engineering industry to think about hiring more candidates with highly applicable skills that are otherwise more associated with arts subjects like creativity and problem solving.
Whitehead said: “I am personally really excited by the opportunities in today’s highly connected world and what the future will bring, but we cannot be complacent. By taking tangible action now and capitalising on the ambition of young people coupled with the UK’s traditions and advantages – education, strong legal frameworks, technical innovations and leadership – we can exploit the digital revolution and compete on the world stage.”
The suggestions from the chief technology officer of BAE Systems along with other points have been bundled into a whitepaper called ‘Future Skills for our UK Business’. The whitepaper outlines six guiding principles needed for developing skills in the UK in an environment of rapid change in technology and fierce global competition.
Royal Academy of Engineering chief executive Hayaatun Sillem said: “Failure to successfully prepare for the impact of technological disruption means we will put at risk our ability to benefit from the opportunities created by digital transformation and other waves of technological change.”