Background

EUROMEC will develop and pilot well-supported manufacturing work-based learning that dovetails with in-house training schemes (non-formal VET) to develop pathways to National Qualifications (NQs) attainment for unqualified Mechatronics 4.0 (M4.0) inspector operatives. The learners’ nonformal learning and competences will be recognized at the outset, and their development priorities defined. The target audience includes M4.0 inspector operatives, with background from welding, who need training at:

  • basic level, and
  • a qualification and qualified operatives, with background as welding engineers, preparing to upgrade to an inspector role at an advanced level.

The proposed new VET system will personalize delivery, driven by individual learning and assessment plans and supported by appropriate ICT and learning technologies. The new M4.0 VET pedagogical aspects will be unique and progressive leading to the following systematic improvements in manufacturing work-based learning:

1. Mechatronics 4.0 is a "nick name" for automation of SME manufacturing process in the frame of Industry 4.0. It is using mechanical, electrical and electronic components to build complex mechatronic systems, e.g. robots for industrial production. SMEs manufacture the individual components (usually done by SMEs), while bigger manufacturing companies assemble them into larger products, systems or installations. For the developed systems to be joined and put into operation, programming and instalment of additional software is often required. Both the SMEs and the larger manufacturing companies comply with diagrams and design drawings, and their operative staff must carefully inspect the joint systems before handing them over to their customers. In addition, these inspector operatives must maintain and repair mechatronic systems (Cf. Bundesagentur für Arbeit 2017, 1). 

The main components of mechatronics 4.0 for automated manufacturing processes in SMEs within VET include the following key areas:

  • Control systems (Control electronics and Digital control systems)
  • Electronic systems (Control electronics and Electro-mechanics)
  • Mechanical systems (Electro-mechanics and Mechanical CAD)
  • Computers (Mechanical CAD and Digital control systems

2. The formalization of a pan European manufacturing VET provider network composed of nationally respected VET providers. Collectively, they will develop the new digitalized learning resources and pedagogy needed to support flexible work-based learning and skills development, in close partnership with their SMEs and larger manufacturing industry partners.

3. The development of the capacity within SMEs and larger manufacturing companies for tutoring support, manufacturing based skills instruction and contribution to a quality assured assessment and formal VET delivery, supported by their VET provider.

4. The development of up to date digital manufacturing VET learning resources, shared by the VET provider network, and their industry SMEs partners.

5. The development of a new work-based learning pedagogy that encourages ‘investigative workbased learning’ and the development of important transversal skills, including problem solving and groups of students collaborative working in teams.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.