Workshop #1: Industry needs and redistributed manufacturing

Our 3rd July workshop brought together 14 participants from makerspaces, education, young entrepreneurs and industry background. We discussed how makerspaces might work with educators to provide the skills future redistributed manufacturing might need, both in terms of employers and employees.

“Less than half of businesses agree that they are able to recruit young people in Scotland with the global skills required by the business” Scottish Council for Development and Industry, 2014.

The OU and Maklab are looking at how education and accreditation in makespaces can equip people with the skills and aptitudes industry needs for redistributed manufacturing, and will be testing this approach through a 12 week case study.  We were keen to bring people together to inform this case study, and help us identify key challenges, and identify who could be invited to a broader conversation over the next six months.

In the morning, we broke into groups to explore two questions:

  1. Can you identify key challenges or gaps currently faced by new ‘graduates’ (university and vocational learners) in terms of their employability skills in the design and manufacturing industry?
  2. Can you identify challenges for makespaces in providing industry relevant training?


Over lunch, participants selected their key challenges to focus on, and we broke into different groups to consider potential solutions or ways forward. These were:

  1. How can informal education add value to formal and academic learning programmes?
  2. How can we tackle the structural and cultural differences between makerspaces and traditional education providers?
  3. How do makespaces identify and respond to different local industry needs?

This was a really active session, with a range of ideas explored from discussions around the general areas to some specific, concrete plans for solutions.

“…this is such a valuable process but we’ve never actually sat down and done it… it was just by you asking me these questions…”

We’re still looking over what people wrote and we’ll be aiming to synthesise the key thoughts over the next few weeks.

We’re going to set up a mailing list to help start building a network to discuss these topics, and we’re keen to invite more people to join in. Please get in touch if these challenges are relevant to you and you’d like to join in our research.

Our next workshop will be on the 4th September, and will focus on “Innovating Accreditation”.

  • What models of accreditation might work for makerspaces, and be recognised by employers and formal education?

We’d love to see you there. If it sounds interesting, get in touch, or sign up online.

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