A brand new building in Barcelona has an analog problem and a digital solution: the double exterior windows filter water when it rains, and the remedy is a special gasket for a watertight seal.
In traditional industry, these pieces would have been injected into a very expensive mold, only profitable for massive runs. But the additive printing of IMES 3D, the startup supplier, has delivered a much smaller quantity, only what the building needs, for much less than the mold would have cost.
With that competitive capacity, it is normal that they do not lack customers knocking on the door. What are they missing then? “Digital talent in the quantity and with the level of training that the market demands”, explains David Mestres, one of the two young founders.
The contrast is almost incomprehensible: on the one hand, structural unemployment, especially youth, and, on the other, a huge fishing ground for quality technological work, the kind that allows a life to be refocused or planned.
Education on demand
The connection between both extremes is invented but not entirely applied: a la carte education, diverse, from higher engineering to the previously despised professional training or updating (reskilling) that periodically summons us all. Another contrast: the most evolutionary, most mutant sector, the technological one, is at the same time the most stable.
The European Commission estimated the number of vacant technology positions on the continent from 500,000 to 750,000 in 2019
In Spain, almost half of the new jobs created this year will be related to the digital environment, about 200,000, says the European Union. But according to Fundación Telefónica, only 31% of the workforce knows what you need to know to work in that environment. And in 2019 the European Commission calculated from 500,000 to 750,000 vacancies in technology on the continent.
The training effort also advances. For example, “in Barcelona the supply of technology professionals grew by 23% between 2017 and 2019, the problem is that the digital economy and demand are running faster,” says Jordi Arrufí, Director of Digital Talent at Mobile World Capital Barcelona.
The human factor
In a way, technology is a victim of its own nature, that of exponential acceleration. The digital economy, Arrufí explains, is based on two pillars today distant but intimately connected: a more powerful and at the same time cheap technology (“to produce an additional unit of software it costs zero ”) and people with training to understand and rush that huge business opportunity.
More than a year after the pandemic, “we already know that the recovery will not be in U or V, but in K,” says the expert. The ascending leg of the K is the stimulated, digital sectors, and the descending leg, the ones that become obsolete. Conclusion: the first group needs specialized digital training to feed themselves, and the second needs specialized digital training to recycle or transfer their surplus employment to the first.
The psychological dimension of training is reflected in the recipes against the digital divide, according to Arrufí, such as the obligation to awaken vocations in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). “Only by achieving it among women we could already reduce it by 80%,” he points out. “Forming the new professional profiles 4.0 is the opportunity for women to achieve greater representation in the industrial and logistics sectors”, third Blanca Sorigué, general director of the Barcelona Free Zone Consortium.
Another recipe that enters fully into the human factor: the motivation for professional recycling in sectors in accelerated transformation, almost all of them, “which will see more changes in 15 years than in a century,” Arrufí clarifies.
Forming the new professional profiles 4.0 is the opportunity for women to achieve greater representation in the industrial and logistics sectors
Blanca Sorigué, General Director of the Barcelona Free Trade Zone Consortium
The European Union insists: Hundreds of thousands of professionals with irreplaceable sector knowledge leaving the world of work is not an option. It’s about adding a digital layer to that experience to re-engage them. Lawyer, but with digital skills; surgeon, but with digital skills; journalist, architect, installer, designer, cook, but with digital training.
Ease of learning
Iván Rey, the other young co-founder of IMES 3D, explains that training in his sector is progressing, there is already a master’s degree in additive manufacturing in Barcelona, ”but now we would need three, one for each specialized printing technique”. “If the specialist talent we need is not abundant, we prioritize personal attitude, curiosity, the ability to learn quickly because technology always evolves, you have to integrate new knowledge every day.”
For Rodrigo Miranda, general director of the ISDI international business school and advisor for the hub of the National Plan for Digital Capacities (PNCD), “the good news is the firm vocation with the change of the production model, there are hubs of support and management, and regardless of the political suit of each one, the PNCD consults the different business and educational actors. The objective is to look back in 10 or 15 years and see a much more digitized GDP, to have a more global and competitive reach, especially in Europe and Latam ”.
Miranda speaks of attitude in a broad sense, of leaving the comfort zone, as people, as companies and as a country. “The first thing I ask the students is what have they learned for their professional development during confinement?” For training to take root, prejudices and awareness must be swept away. Hasn’t it been done so far? “Not enough”.
The tendency to the comfort of a developed society has prevailed. “In this we must be politically incorrect, recognize that we are the people who are primarily responsible for our training. I can help you by creating learning environments and programs, with a training check, but the attitude of continuing education depends on you ”, Miranda points out, and adds:“ When we wake up that hunger, training becomes easy ”.
The objective is to look back in 10 or 15 years and see a much more digitized GDP, to have a more global and competitive reach, especially in Europe and Latam
Rodrigo Miranda, director of ISDI and advisor for the PNCD hub
Also: reverse false and stubborn clichés, such as that technology is only for the clever, restore dignity to professional training stigmatized since the eighties, communicate that the variety of technological content is such that anyone, “I repeat, anyone,” insists Miranda, you can choose to train digitally, in addition to practical training such as the actual digitization of a company or the creation of a e-commerce with financing, billing and real customers.
And two more attitudes, according to the professor: an optimistic and realistic spirit, because it is based on the certainty of almost full digital employment. And herd spirit: that this individual vision of own responsibility is projected in the collective, in the all together. “Collaboration between companies, administrations and educators is essential to create ecosystems, shuttles and hubs mutual aid. Nothing is left over, everything adds up ”.
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