AFM CLUSTER is the organisation that represents advanced and digital manufacturing interests in Spain. It comprises five industrial associations and groups more than 500 companies with 16,500 employees and a turnover of 3,000 million euros. Josu Riezu is currently responsible for the organisation’s People Development Area. He has worked at AFM CLUSTER for 20 years, having held different functions during all this time in the Quality and International Departments, as well as a Finance Director. Along with his current position, he is also director of AFMEC, the association for contract manufacturing and mechanical engineering enterprises, within AFM CLUSTER.
Mr. Riezu underlines the importance of “well-prepared talent for the advanced manufacturing sector. The industrial sectors involved in advanced manufacturing require qualified workers, and the role of the training centers, both VET and universities is essential for us.”
What are your expectations for EXAM 4.0, a disruptive pilot initiative for European Vocational Education and Training (VET)?
Concerning the People Development’s Area, AFM CLUSTER has identified two main challenges for the advanced and digital manufacturing sector. The first one refers qualified talent attraction. The industrial sectors in general are facing difficulties to get the talent that they need, and we are developing different initiatives in order to show the benefits of an attractive sector to students and people looking for an employment.
The second challenge refers to skills. We need well prepared and qualified workers. The markets and technologies are changing constantly, and we need to adapt our teams to them. Industry 4.0 and the digitalization bring new competences, skills, and profiles. We have to be prepared for the changes and we need to maintain a good educational system in order to continue having the talent that our companies require.
The EXAM 4.0 will help us to advance in tackling these challenges. It is particularly useful to work with different VET centres and universities with the same aim of cooperation and improvement in order to better prepare our talent.
What activities are you carrying out within the EXAM 4.0 project?
AFM CLUSTER is an association that represents more than 500 advanced manufacturing companies, and our main role is to provide the industry perspective to the experts of the educational system.
We started with a review to the state of the art regarding the Advanced Manufacturing Sector and its links with the VET and HVET systems in Europe. The project partner DHBW is leading this important task, coordinated with the rest of partners. The results will be available very soon and they will be very useful for the rest of important activities we have to deal with during the project.
We are also working on some other activities, such as the definition of the strategies and objectives for the creation of a Platform that will connect different actors in the VET concerning the Advanced Manufacturing. TKNIKA is leading this relevant task and it will be very beneficial in order to create a new way of collaboration between the different entities of the VET at European level. We are also contributing to designing, modelling, and piloting advanced manufacturing 4.0 lab physical spaces. Curt Nicolin Highschool is leading the definition of the requirements that a VET center must fulfill to be able to provide students with relevant skills for the advanced manufacturing sector and the piloting phase of the 4.0 lab will be led by Da Vinci College.
Read more about EXAM 4.0 prospective project results here.
What does “excellence” mean to you?
Technology is evolving extremely fast and new relevant solutions are being adopted by the industry constantly. Clear examples are the digitalization and industry 4.0 with a wide range of technology enablers that are changing our manufacturing systems and market conditions. These changes mean on the one hand introducing complexity but also improving productivity and competitiveness, looking for the excellence. To get this excellence we need well trained workers, people with the competencies and skills required by the industry. Our project is an important step to provide a collaboration ecosystem of companies, VET centers and institutions for that excellence.
Why is Advanced Manufacturing 4.0 a strategic sector to further develop VET?
Advanced manufacturing provides solutions and means of production for the leading sectors in the economy, thereby helping to improve their productivity and competitiveness. The Machine Tool is in the origin of every industrial production, in fact Machine Tools and the steam engine were the driving forces of the industrial revolution and there would not be modern industry without Machine Tools. We can manufacture complex parts with repeatability and precision thanks to advanced manufacturing, so this sector is directly or indirectly related to any kind of product and specially to the key industries.
It is very important to continuously develop VET in order to adapt to the needs of advanced manufacturing since it will affect directly also to the rest of the strategic sectors, such as automotive, aeronautics, wind energy, railways, etc. And, of course, to get this challenge we need the implication of all the strategic members of our society: enterprises, training providers, policymakers, and citizens.
What is the role of cooperation in achieving such objectives?
The project will allow AFM CLUSTER and its member companies to get more knowledge and experience in the field of industry 4.0 technology enablers and, more specifically, from the perspective of training centers. Connected machines, remote access, digital technologies, big data, cyber security, robotics and augmented reality are challenges that advanced manufacturing companies are facing today, and the project will be useful to get a practical approach to these changes and to get future employers trained in those activities, relevant for the competitiveness of our companies. The participation of training centers and companies from different European countries allows us to see different perspectives and improve the results, since each partner contributes with its knowledge, which delivers an enriching project for all the participants.
Discover other initiatives by AFM CLUSTER
METALS (Machine Tool Alliance for Skills)
This project was an Erasmus+ project as well, and lasted from 2016 to 2018, under the coordination of CECIMO (European Association of the Machine Tool Industries). Associations, training centers and qualifications entities of three European countries participated in it. METALS project’s overall goal was to increase the competitiveness of the European machine tool industry and boost the employability of workforce. We provided a detailed analysis about the skills needed in line with emerging technologies and developed an e-Learning platform hosting VET curriculum and learning materials, focused on Additive Manufacturing.
More information available at www.metalsalliance.eu.
An interview by EARLALL. With the support of AFM CLUSTER. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any official body or the EXAM 4.0 project itself.