European Association of the Machine Tool Industries Cecimo participated in the European Commission Seminar “The Impact of Technology on Labour Markets in the 21st Century”. In addition to the machine tool industry represented by CECIMO, the high-level meeting was attended by companies and sectoral associations including IT, robotics, retail, transportation, and academics, and government representatives at EU and national levels. Mr Jean-Camille Uring, President of CECIMO, participated in the interactive workshop and presented the case of European machine tool industry.
Throughout the workshop, the participants discussed thoroughly strategic issues such as sector-specific innovations and their implications for the workforce today and in the future as well as possible policy responses. The participants have drawn the Commission’s attention on the growing skills and technology developments in the USA and China, which threatens the competitiveness of the EU industry. For instance, while the USA startups are by far the pioneers in the ICT field, which is one of the building blocks of many sectors’ productivity, in China, every year millions of graduates from technical universities join the Chinese labour market and help the Chinese industry close the technology gap with the West. During the meeting, the growing gap between European universities and the industry was also discussed. It was stated that while the structure of companies has drastically changed over the last decades, universities and training systems have not evolved at the same pace.
Mr Uring stated during the meeting: “The European machine tool industry is a technology-intensive sector and machine tool builders must use the latest technology available on the market to remain competitive. This, however, requires that our workforce has the skills needed to merge available technologies, particularly from the IT sector, with our products and services. We should also support promising technology-intensive startups launched by young Europeans by providing financial support and “risk-sharing” schemes. Mr Filip Geerts, Director General of CECIMO, adds: “We are glad that CECIMO participated in this high-level and interactive workshop organized by the European Commission, where our President once again underlined the skills challenges facing our sector. Ensuring that our workforce has the right skills set is one of the main pillars of the competitiveness of our sector, if not the most important. We have to work together with partners from various sectors towards a common agenda and make sure the European business remains competitive”.