Exclusive pre-event interview with Walter Siegenthaler

by Fleming. Team

"People with the right skills and the right attitude, modern equipment that makes it attractive for young people to work on, thus forming the key drivers of manufacturing competitiveness." - Walter Siegenthaler, Executive Vice President - Max Daetwyler Corporation, US.

In your opinion, how can the image of manufacturing sector be changed?

“Manufacturing companies have to open their doors for plant tours, invite teachers, students and their parents to tour the facility. Short videos can also help to show thatadvances manufacturing is clean, exciting and rewarding.”

How do you think the outcomes of STEM education can be improved?

“Working together with schools (teachers) to give them a better understanding of how STEM is applied in manufacturing. Teachers will teach more enthusiastically when they understand how what they teach is used in real life.”

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In the manufacturing sector, how can recruiting be redesigned?

“We cannot just hire from each other, we need to grow the pool of available skilled people. A good way is through apprenticeships, but manufacturers need to understand that they have to do their part in educating young people, the government or the colleges will not be able to produce the skilled labor we need.”

What do you think are the key drivers of manufacturing competitiveness?

“People with the right skills and the right attitude, modern equipment that makes it attractive for young people to work on."

What role do apprenticeship programs play in the manufacturing sector and how do you think they can they be taken to the next level?

“As mentioned above, we need apprenticeship programs to create the pool of skilled workers we need. There are examples of very good apprenticeship programs which can be “copied” in other areas. It starts with manufacturers realizing that they have a shortage of skilled labor and that they have to do something about it. It is not a short term fix but apprenticeships have proven themselves for many years in Europe, so we just have to adapt the European systems to the US. We have to show young people that an apprenticeship is the foundation for a rewarding career.”

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