Coordinated by CECIMO, the European association representing the Machine Tool and Additive Manufacturing industry, the METALS project has generated a course of 27 learning units, divided along three main areas – knowledge on AM, work process and entrepreneurship – covering both technical and soft skills needs. It is available in English, German, Italian and Spanish, and it sets out to support AM workforce development. (It is available here: https://metals.mobil-lernen.com/en)

METALS has been supported by a comprehensive partnership spanning three countries – Germany, Italy and Spain – and embraced key stakeholders in AM workforce development, from industry and vocational training institutes, to local training regulators and research bodies.

The initiative aimed to increase the competitiveness of the European machine tool industry by providing the sector with the skills needed to benefit from new disruptive technologies. Following surveys, workshops and interviews with machine tool experts from all over Europe, METALS partners concluded that in the portfolio of innovative technologies in the machine tool sector, AM is a key area for training since it is on the verge of industrialisation.

The project also set out to raise policymakers’ awareness about the importance of AM skills for the European advanced manufacturing sector. METALS developed a position paper, calling on Vocational Education and Training (VET) regulatory bodies across Europe to shape robust training programmes for AM-skilled workers, and for relevant national accreditation agencies to give priority to AM skills in their respective systems. The paper also calls for promoting the attractiveness of VET and to increase funding at the disposal of VET institutes for the purchase of necessary technical equipment in the field of AM.

Says Filip Geerts, CECIMO’s director general: “Training and education are important elements for the industrialisation of additive technologies in Europe, which is the objective of CECIMO. With METALS, learners will be able to access relevant online knowledge at no cost and start building their competences to interact with AM. Coupled with on-hands training, which remains essential, initiatives like METALS are useful to increase the overall awareness of what AM concretely is and entails.”