Powerful, reliable and secure industrial networks are a cornerstone of industrial digitalisation and essential in bringing together machines, processes, people and data.
A number of manufacturers are investing in ensuring their networks are upgraded and secure, whether it is WiFi, LAN or enterprise. However, the industry is experiencing a skills and knowledge shortage needed to plan, implement and maintain these networks.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) there is a severe skills shortage in the UK. It quoted on its website that the situation is reflective of the current tightness of the labour market where 64% who have vacancies report that at least some of these vacancies are proving hard to fill.
In addition, 38% employers report being unable to fill a permanent vacancy in 2018, with roles in healthcare, engineering, teaching, and IT being the most prevalent.
24% of all employers have increased investment in skills since 2017 to address hard-to-fill vacancies. 19% have offered more apprenticeships, rising to 29% among public sector employers. This suggests the Apprenticeship Levy may be acting as a catalyst for more activity.
Siemens is offering multiple-level courses that include Initial Trainings in Industrial Network (ITIN); Certified Professional in Industrial Networks (CPIN); and the advanced Siemens Certified Expert for Industrial Networks (Siemens CEIN) in the UK.
ITIN is designed to teach beginners the fundamentals of industrial communication networks and these courses have proven to be more popular with younger job seekers. The classroom styled training includes Ethernet Fundamentals in Industrial Networks and provides a complete overview of network technologies and mechanisms that form the foundation for today’s digital communication.
On the other hand, the CPIN course offers practical work with industrial networks knowledge. The candidate will learn basic skills for planning, implementing, and securing simple industrial networks. In addition, training will teach how to connect industrial networks to a corporate network.
The more advanced Siemens Certified Expert for Industrial Networks (Siemens CEIN) course is a well-rounded offering, an industry recognised certification that is valid for three years. It is set to arm the candidates with skills in how to secure, diagnose, and optimise communication networks. Independent consultants that joined previous cohorts that work with Siemens as solutions partners for industrial networks have benefitted adding another stream of revenue in their books.
Ian Poulett, business manager, industrial communications, said now is the time for companies and individuals to invest in upskilling. Technologies and their applications are only getting more complex.
“The future of industry lies in digitalisation,” he said. “To achieve this, it is crucial for manufacturers to invest in powerful industrial networks. Equally important to run these infrastructures is the knowledge of how to plan and implement these networks and connect them to a corporate network.”
The next cohort for the Siemens industrial network training programme will be held in the Worcester offices with social distance measures in place. Strict COVID-19 guidelines are being adhered to with only one person per rig and a maximum of 6 participants per training course, temperature checks on arrival, social distancing and track and trace.
SITRAIN, Siemens Digital Industry Academy has been supporting the UK industry with its range of holistic digital training courses. Jason Phin, training solutions business manager, SITRAIN said: “We are committed to working with customers to ensure they have the best skills to meet workplace demands of the future, it is great to see how we are supporting new skills and upskilling with the range of courses on offer.”
Neil Yates, sales specialist for industrial communications and project lead for the training programme, said, “The candidates who have signed up for these courses come from various backgrounds. Some are fresh graduates and want to add to their skills set, whilst others have many years of industrial experience but need to upgrade their skills bringing them up to date with new technologies.”
Mr Poulett added: “Training helps our solution partners, system integrators and companies to build in-house competencies to manage and modernise their own networks – reducing the need for consultancy. By having an accredited network professional, it increases the chances of a successful ‘first right time’ project because they understand the planning process.”