Additive Manufacturing, hereinafter AM, refers to the process used in the manufacture of products, by depositing or fusing materials layer by layer. AM, inside the category of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), holds huge potential to disrupt the way in which a product could be designed, developed and manufactured. Moreover, can lead to a great number of technical and economic advantages and provide jobs in sectors such as the Toolmaking and Habitat.
Nevertheless, this revolutionary technology is still at an early stage in these manufacturing industries and many challenges have to be faced. On the one hand, Toolmaking industry mainly involved AM for product development or low-cost tools. On the other hand, the consumer market for AM in Habitat represents less than 0,1% of conventional manufacturing and the total services and products made is still a niche (1).
This needed shift might happen at three layers: 1) culture and organisation, 2) people and skills and 3) technology and infrastructure (2). Furthermore, the competitiveness of the industry is highly dependent on the knowledge, skills, competences and creativity of its employees; but the skills requested by industry are not merely technical.
Over the last decade, the notion of T-shaped skills and high-tech T-shaped skills has emerged. The vertical bar on the T represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own.
SAMANTHA project wants to anticipate with this up/reskilling strategy, especially in VET field because the current European VET offer has to respond to such challenges and take advantage of great opportunities ahead as the gap that exists in the Toolmaking and Habitat sector. For this reason, SAMANTHA aims to develop a novel training program addressing the mismatched high-tech T-shaped skills for proper implementation of AM in the value chains of such sectors through high qualified workers. From this main objective there are several specific objectives:
• Create flexible learning pathways and didactic tools based on the learning outcomes approach, able to provide, assess and recognize the key competences identified in target groups.
• To ensure good alignment of VET programmes with the requirements of the Toolmaking industry and Habitat sector regarding AM.
• To boost the Digital Transformation and the Smart Industrial Specialisation of these manufacturing sectors with a competent implementation of AM in their value chains.
• To increase competitiveness and productivity of these sectors with a continuous up/re-skilling of the workforce with the required high-tech T-shaped skills needed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
• To raise awareness and to improve the image of KETs and STEM graduates in society as a field to work in.
The main target groups of SAMANTHA project are: People with no practical expertise who are willing to learn about AM and find a job or workers from these sectors with experience in AM who want to acquire high-tech T-shaped skills or upgrade their knowledge.
Under the frame of the SAMANTHA initiative some results will be expected:
IO1. A complete overview of the level of implementation of Additive Manufacturing in the Toolmaking industry and Habitat sector, the desired and needed high-tech T-shaped skills in workers’ curriculum and related VET training offer.
IO2. The creation of an innovative curriculum which will respond to those identified high-tech T-shaped skills and competences mismatches. Next, the development of SAMANTHA Training Content. The learning outcomes will combine high-tech skills with specific complementary skills. For instance: Technical, Quality, risk, ethics & safety, Management & Entrepreneurship, Communication, Innovation, Emotional & social intelligence competences. All of that making a distinction among the Toolmaking and Habitat sector.
IO3. The setting up of the SAMANTHA Open Learning Platform.
IO4. A Senior Transfer of Knowledge within senior workers to juniors.
IO5. Policy recommendations based on the obtained results of the project in order to foster the needed change in VET policies.
For achieving that, the project count on a multidisciplinary partnership composed of 7 partners with a different background as the Toolmaking industry, the Habitat sector, education and from a Psychology scope: KIT (the coordinator), ILI, AMUEBLA, CENFIM, CENTROCOT, CEIPES and TECOS