Manufacturing in Europe is still a hallmark

fig.aA whitepaper from the European Federation of Welding, Joining and Cutting reveals manufacturing is still a hallmark of Europe and an area of ample wealth generation and employment opportunities. Industrial activities still account for over 80% of Europe’s exports and 80% of private research and innovation. And, as key enabling and pervasive technologies in all manufacturing processes, joining and welding are cornerstones of manufacturing success and competitiveness. Putting the issue of employability potential into perspective, in Europe alone there are around 1,9 million full-time-equivalent joining specialists, according to the study «The Economic Importance of Welding and Joining in Europe. It also represents a cross-generation profession, with employment and career opportunities for all ages. Its relevance has been highlighted by the Commission’s Industrial Renaissance in Europe communication as well as, amongst other initiatives, the launch of the Technology Platform “Manufuture” and, more recently, the creation of the Joining Sub-Platform within Manufuture. In spite of this vision and long-term positive prospects for welding and joining, the sector has seen a worrying trend in which the number of youngsters embracing the profession has dwindled in the last decade, while retraining of current professionals has also followed the same route. This trend could potentially hinder the growth and competitiveness of manufacturing industries in Europe. So, in order to maintain the quality level in manufacturing and theengineering sector at large, and to prevent future issues with professionals’ shortage, it is fundamental to invest in people’s training and qualification. EWF, as well as other relevant players in the industry, is actively working to raise awareness amongst all of the potential professionals about the increasing opportunities that exist on the manufacturing sector. For EWF specifically, the focus has been on developing relevant initiatives, ranging from recognition through awards for young welders, best welding coordinator and Lifetime achievement to implementing innovative teaching methods, including implementation of Virtual Technology in education of welders and welding specialists as well as through the launch of the Welding Dictionary app, currently available on the Apple App Store and in the implementation of distance learning in welding / joining technologies.

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