Digital skills for the industry of the future

September 4, 2020 6:00 - 7:30


Advanced digital technologies have become commonplace in many parts of our daily life, but only recently started to make noticeable inroads in the industrial sector. Summarized under headlines like “Industry 4.0” of “Factory of the Future”, the suite of technologies relevant to industrial operations includes artificial intelligence and augmented reality, collaborating robots and 3D printing, or cyber-physical systems in general, to name but a few. While opportunities for productivity improvements, factory flexibility, or mass customization are significant, the adoption of new digital tools and concepts in industry still has been progressing much slower than in the consumer sector. One of the main reasons is that digitally transforming complex industrial operations requires strong ‘digital literacy’ not only among all ranks of a company, but also across all critical business functions. Enhancing digital skills will obviously need to start in academic and vocational programs; however, upskilling of the existing industrial workforce and programs for continuing education are equally – if not more – important. The panel will look at the current skills gap, ways to address it from the perspectives of both, educational institutions and industry, and discuss requirements for the future workforce. Questions to be addressed include: What are the biggest opportunities and risks in digital transformation for industry? How critical is the current skills gap in Europe and where is it most acute? What level of digital proficiency does industry expect from its future workforce? How can training on digital skills be delivered most effectively? What support can and will educational institutions provide for life-long (digital) learning? How can European programs such as Horizon Europe and Digital Europe help fill the gap? The session kicks off with a polling among the audience concerning 3 or max. 4 of the questions above, with answers to be chosen between given options. The “slido” app ( – or an equivalent tool – will be employed to this end. This will set the stage for the panelists, who will contribute their individual perspectives in brief statements, followed by 15-20min of open discussion among the panelists themselves. Subsequently, the audience is invited to ask questions and comment on the points made. Here, again, the slido app will be utilized.

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