How will the maintenance industry solve its skills shortage?
Most European industrial companies find it difficult to recruit staff with the right skills. Especially in the field of maintenance, there is a serious deficiency of qualified workers. This, in turn, means that the development of production does not achieve its highest potential and results. What helps boost production, if you are unable to improve reliability? Unfortunately, many investments have been made without the goal of creating world-class production.
Students at our higher education institutions in Sweden do not choose technology, upper secondary schools do not attract enough students to technical programs and the high school of applied sciences has far too few technical educations.
When we have to cope with increasingly modern and automated production, more vocational training is required. A new type of multi-knowledge with a mix of automation, electrical engineering and mechanics with elaborate functional and system thinking is also required. Europe needs around 1 000 000 professionals. In 15 years from now, 3 000 000 maintenance professionals will be required. The currect situation is therefore profoundly serious.
Today exists qualifications made from a development project within the EFNMS – European Federation of National Maintenance Societies – covering all occupational levels. The European Union has financed the development.
The qualifications are available at four levels:
1. Maintenance Manager,
2. Maintenance Engineer / Supervisor,
3. Maintenance Technician and
4. Maintenance mechanics, Maintenance Electricians and Automation Electricians.
Qualifications are incredibly detailed and written to support trainers to bring the breadth and depth of the training.
The qualifications form the basis for the maintenance sector's validation system EFNMS CeMaint. There are currently over 6,000 validation questions for knowledge and skill tests.
A development process is now underway to improve and extend IT-based validation for competence mapping and to provide EFNMS certificates for maintenance managers, maintenance engineers, and maintenance technicians.
Already today, knowledge can be validated before education to optimize training. There is no need to educate what you already know. When the training is completed, you can get a skills pass. If you have reached far enough in your personal development, you can reach an EFNMS pass, and if you have the required experience, you can qualify for an EFNMS certificate.
Text: Ingemar Andreason, SVUH, Sweden (The Swedish Maintenance Society)
The upskilling of maintenance workers should be one of the most important and ongoing functions of any facilities management.
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