The shortage of skilled labour in the UK is getting worse and Brexit is partly to blame.
This is the stark message from the Chairman of the British Automation & Robot Association (BARA) Mike Wilson.
Speaking at today’s UKIVA MVC, Wilson was candid about the country’s poor productivity and how the situation was getting worse. Not only is labour availability becoming very tight, but the shortage of skills is getting worse.
But the lack of qualified personnel is only part of the problem which faces the country said Wilson.
Top of the naughty step was the country’s lack of investment in capital equipment which he blamed on the country’s culture. This puts the emphasis on short-term returns above that of equipping the country’s manufacturing base with what it needs to break out of the low productivity trap.
The old lament that manufacturing was run by accountants and not engineers was the root cause of the problem said Wilson.
And one of the big examples of this inability to invest in the right future, is the reluctance to adopt robotic technologies. UK management still prefer the use of “low cost” labour as opposed to robots. Which, said Wilson, shows why the UK is in the last place for productivity in most sectors.
This puts the UK at odds with many other advanced industrial nations who have adopted robotics and who have boosted their manufacturing levels.
And whilst the rest of the world moves ahead, the UK is set to fall further behind.
For Wilson the UK has to change; the country’s manufacturing has to be competitive. Success requires automation and flexibility is required, which means an adoption of robot solutions.
In his view, the country has to work smarter, not harder. He finished by telling his audience that we need to “…sweat the assets, not the people.”