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tertiary veu summary english v2_sms

  1. 1. Summary Resume - - Deployment of digital technol- ogies and how it may impact quality of jobs an innovation opportunities.
  2. 2. Teknologisk Institut Title: Summary: Survey of competence needs and barriers to tertiary adult continuing vocational educa- tion and training for skilled workers in technical and production fields Prepared for: The Danish Agency for Higher Education Prepared by: Danish Technological Institute Policy and Business Development Teknologiparken Kongsvang Allé 29 8000 Aarhus C April 2015 Hanne Shapiro, Danish Technological Institute
  3. 3. Teknologisk Institut 3 Contents 1. Introduction.................................................................................................... 4 1.1. Key messages emerging........................................................................... 4 2. Background and objectives to the study ............................................................. 5 2.1. Method and data basis ............................................................................. 6 3. Conclusions .................................................................................................... 9 3.1. Supply and activity in adult vocational continuing education and training (tertiary VEU)..................................................................................................... 9 3.2. Skilled workers' job functions and competence needs in the group of enterprises that invest in digital technologies to enhance agility and innovation performance .....................................................................................................13 3.3. Barriers to tertiary VEU - and possible solutions .........................................14 4. Analysis of previous educational program activityFejl! Bogmærke er ikke defineret.
  4. 4. Teknologisk Institut 4 1. Introduction In September 2014, Danish Technological Institute was commissioned a study by the Danish Agency for Higher Education with focus on the impact of digitalization on the de- mand for skills in manufacturing, installation and construction industries. The study was published in January 2015 in Danish. This paper presents a short summary of the key study findings and the context of the study. 1.1. Key messages emerging  Automation and digitalization do not in all cases drive demands for higher skills levels, which are hard to meet - as such the European rhetoric of a digital skills gap may greatly overestimate the nature of the challenge.  Among app 700 hundred Danish firms surveyed and 25 in depth case studies primarily within manufacturing and installation half of the firms that have adopt- ed more advanced digital technology platforms make do with technology suppler courses, internal training and short labour market skills specific training courses.  The other half, and almost all of the installation firms ( smart building solutions) have a growing need for more advanced skills among their skilled workforce trained in the dual system, and the existing supply does not match changing needs for a deeper technological foundation knowledge, subject based knowledge in math, physics, written communication and languages, underpinned by a strong business process and customer understanding and the opportunities afforded by pervasive digital technologies.  In one set of firms training of the shop floor workers occur, when specific new skills are needed due to changes in the technological base, education and training beyond that is seen as a high risk to the firm, as it could lead to that the well performing shop-floor worker is educated out of productive role into a superviso- ry role. Some flexibility is a target of the train due to that digitalization has been used as a means to reduce the shop floor workforce to the absolute minimum- and so to avoid stand still in the production.  In the other group of firms education and training is deeply embedded in the stra- tegic direction of the firm- and training occurs in advance in support of business transformation. The well performing skilled worker is actively encouraged to un- dertake formal continuing education, which is seen as a central means to ensuring that the productive shop floor environment is a central motor of innovation- the shop floor worker is in that sense – an “engineer lite”- but of a different nature and their hands on practical skills deeply appreciated.  For half of the firms automation and digital technologies have driven dramatic ef- ficiency gains- the organizational fat has been cut through a technically driven lean process, and no slack has remained. Apart from that production processes, work organization and business models have remained more or less unchanged. The technologies have however led to that job tasks have become more monoto- nous with a large proportion of the work time being used for inspection, monitor- ing and documentation.  For the other half of the firms a lean process has been used to drive an organiza- tional focus on where do we produce value, and shop floor workers have actively been encouraged to come with ideas. The organizational fat has been cut, but with some slack driving a transformation of business processes and value proposi- tion. This groupof firms provide an interesting empirical evidence that digital
  5. 5. Teknologisk Institut 5 technologies may not only lead to „digital taylorism‟1 , but can enhance the job quality, the agility of the work organization, and digitally enabled service intensive innovation in manufacturing firms.  In both instances decisions taken are seen as an alternative to more off-shoring- and in the manufacturing industries the platform for small series or 0-series pro- duction.  The competitiveness strategy pursued defines whether the implementation of digi- tal technologies lead to „digital taylorism* that is narrow jobs with a high degree of routinisation at the shop floor level, or whether digital technologies become a means to avoid commodisation- and instead create jobs that require both deeper and broader skills of the shop floor workers so that they can contribute to cus- tomer involving innovation processes.  In both cases there has been a strong call for improving efficiency- and it is worth noticing that Danish manufacturing firms on an average have improved the productivity about 30 pct. during the period 2008- 2013- compared to an average of not quite 10% for the EU as a whole.2 in Europe as a whole. However, whereas the prime driver and outcomes of digital investments have been efficiency gains in half of the companies, the investment in digital technologies have in the other half led to wide transformations of business processes, work organization and value proposition product/ service configuration.  At present no attempts are being made to monitor the outcomes of the two differ- ent strategic choices. In the recently published “Information Technology Outlook from World Economic Forum” Denmark comes out as number 15- two sets of in- dicators stand out- Some years ago Denmark was perceived as a leading country in e-gov- driving innovations also in the private sector, that time is long gone. Though Denmark according to The WEF survey has a high ICT user ability and in general a strong technological absorptive capacity, the usage of digital technolo- gies for organizational innovation and innovation of business models.  In another study we have found how Danish SMEs in manufacturing manage to become lead niece sub-suppliers in globalized markets through an innovative and service intensive deployment of technologies- is Denmark missing out due to a housewife wallet vision and strategic approach to the digital economy? 2. Background and objectives to the study As a follow-up to the tripartite negotiations- between the government, the Confederation of Unions and the Confederation of Employers, 1 billion DKK were allocated to more and better adult education as part of the government‟s Growth Plan to kick start the economy through targeted public investments and deregulation. Of this amount, DKK 355 million has been reserved for further education of skilled workers to technician level through participation in adult continuing professional education and training (VEU) at short-cycle tertiary levels (academy profession levels). Tertiary VEU (adult continuing professional education and training) is to be significantly renewed and expanded through 2020. The goal is for the number of part-time programs at tertiary level to be increased, especially in technical, production, and adjacent fields, in order to maintain and develop advanced production in Denmark through increased qualification levels in the workforce. It is un- 1 Brown Phil, Lauder Hugh, Ashton David (2012) Global Auction of Skills Broken Promises of Education, jobs and Earnings. Oxford University Press 2 fremgang.pdf
  6. 6. Teknologisk Institut 6 clear whether the current limited supply of tertiary adult continuing training programs in technical and production fields is sufficient to match coming competence needs, and therefore new supply and program organizational forms may be necessary. Since 2005 there has been an increase in the total number of part-time participants in tertiary VEU in the fields of information technology, innovation, product and production, laboratory and biotechnology, and transport and logistics. However, at the same time there has been a decrease in the number of skilled workers who have participated. In 2013 skilled workers accounted for one-third of course participants, except in the field of transport and logis- tics, where this figure was 46%. With this background, the overall objectives of the map- ping have been: To survey competence needs in technical and production fields. The goal is for education institutions to become better acquainted with competences in technical and production fields that enterprises and employees need to acquire through tertiary adult continuing training. To survey perceived barriers to participation in continuing education and train- ing. The survey has identified perceived barriers for participation in tertiary VEU at en- terprise level, and employee level, and at a systemic level. To survey existing and planned supply. The survey has identified existing supply and the use of tertiary part-time technical and production education programs for skilled workers. The survey has identified participants' profiles and professional background, course activity in modules as opposed to entire education programs, and differences in regional activity. In addition, the survey has clarified which barriers education institutions are faced with in supplying VEU to skilled workers, and which initiatives institutions have launched to make this supply more appealing to skilled workers. Finally, the survey has identified education institutions' planned supply of tertiary VEU in technical, production, and related fields. Proposals for new education programs and delivery. The survey data and the inter- views have been used as sources to develop generic skills profiles needed for digital manufacturing, intelligent installations and digital construction. The aim of the Ministry was from the outset that the analysis should be sufficient granular so that that the ge- neric task based skills profiles at a later stage could be used as the core resource base for curriculum development. The analysis also presents concrete proposals for delivery models that may reduce perceived barriers. Finally, the analysis provides examples of how the stakeholders - such as education institutions, employer associations, industry associations, and employee associations - all can collaborate with enterprises and em- ployees to lower barriers and increase motivation for participating in tertiary continuing adult training. 2.1. Method and data basis The study is based on the following data: Desk research of previous analyses of competence needs and skilled workers' use of tertiary adult continuing training in technical fields. Introductory interviews with the Trade Panel for the Implementation of the VEU-billion. Introductory interviews were held with this group which represents stake-
  7. 7. Teknologisk Institut 7 holder organizations and education institutions. The goal of these interviews was to im- prove the collection of data by including the panel's assessments of developing trends in skilled workers' competence needs and barriers to supply. Meetings with the Trade Panel. Meetings were held so that the Panel could contribute with input to the analysis process. Enterprise survey. A telephone interview survey was carried out with 709 enterprises working in technical and production fields. Each interview lasted about 30 minutes. Re- spondents were representatives from enterprise management who were familiar with skilled workers' job functions and competence needs. Respondents were initially asked to focus on skilled workers in production and with technical job functions, and to leave out skilled workers with administrative job functions. Certain enterprises were eliminated from the sample, such as those with simple craftsman-based production or those that only had warehouse or sales function in Denmark. Enterprise job functions, production processes, and competence needs are all complex fields with very large sample spaces. Since this makes it difficult to pre-define response categories, the interview process was organized through open questions. Answers were then categorized so that they could be grouped and quantified. Qualitative interviews with enterprises. Qualitative interviews were carried out with 25 enterprises, primarily in process industry, manufacturing, installation technology, and contracting. Most of the enterprises chosen for this were large in size, based on the pre- sumption that larger enterprises would more clearly present trends in skills needs that will affect their Danish sub-suppliers. There has also been an expectation that these en- terprises overall have a more strategic approach to tertiary VEU and can therefore be seen as an indicator of future demand, and their requirements will influence demands to their Danish sub-suppliers within the value chain. The purpose of the qualitative interviews has been to obtain in-depth insight into how and to which extent digital technologies drive changes in the production process, busi- ness model and products and services, and how these are linked to the competition strategy pursued and subsequent changes in job task, work organization practices and skills demanded. When discussing job functions a tasks based approach was used in- formed by both OECD - the digital economy working group -and the US O*NET methodo- logical development to get a sufficiently granular understanding of the nature of change occurring. In so far as possible, respondents were production line or function managers, skilled workers and their shop stewards, and HR managers. The interviews dealt with the following themes:  Linkage between competitiveness strategy pursued and the way digital technolo- gies are deployed;  What are the linkages between enterprises' use of digital technology, work organi- zation practices, quality of jobs, and skills utilization - skills development practic- es?  What is perceived as skilled performance in a highly digitalized work environment - and are there varied perceptions?  What is the organization and extent of restructuring due to digitalization, and its impact on tasks and models of flexibility?
  8. 8. Teknologisk Institut 8  What is the role and value of skills formation - use and choice of suppliers- and are there any barriers to this? Statistical analysis of education activity Danish Technological Institute has analyzed statistics from the Danish Agency for Higher Education (Uni-C data bank) for participants in tertiary vocationally-oriented adult and continuing education and training courses. The analysis identifies participants' education- al background (highest completed qualification), employment status before participation, professional background, etc. Information on current and anticipated supply of continuing educational activity During the mapping of supply, a form was used to gather information from academies of professional higher education on their current and expected supply of tertiary education programs for skilled workers (tertiary academy profession programs) in technical and production fields. This mapping focuses on tertiary programs that target skilled workers in production, technical fields, and building and construction.
  9. 9. Teknologisk Institut 9 3. Conclusions 3.1. Supply and activity in adult vocational continuing education and training (tertiary VEU) Activity in tertiary VEU is currently increasing - but from a low initial level There has not previously been any widespread tradition for further education of skilled workers in technical and production fields. The supply of part-time studies has been modest and demand - calculated by the number of participants - has been limited. Recent years have seen an increase in activity within tertiary VEU. Statistical analyses show an increase in participants in part-time academy profession programs, for example in the Innovation, Product, and Production program, where the number of participants increased from 502 in 2012 to 947 in 2013. This program, however, has a very wide tar- get group, and the number of skilled workers participating has been declining since the crisis. Information on education institutions' current and expected supply of part-time academy profession programs shows an expected increase in participants for the begin- ning of 2015 - especially for Innovation, Product, and Production. A similar increase in participants is expected for Energy Technology. New academy profession programs in the pipeline Information from education institutions shows that new academy profession programs are in the process of being approved and are expected to start in 2015 in the field of Au- tomation and Operations and as a new program for Energy Technologist. In addition there are plans for new programs for building and construction and for the automotive fields. On the basis of recent years' increased participation rates in tertiary VEU, increased ac- tivity can be expected in technical and production fields due to increased supply targeting employed adults, where supply has hitherto been limited. Expectations of increased ac- tivity can also be substantiated by the fact that increasing numbers of enterprises fore- see increased needs for skilled workers with higher qualification levels so that they can be better prepared for participation in development functions and work processes that target customers and are often organized in project form. Education institutions admit that tertiary VEU has not been a high priority in recent years. This indicates that the market is under development, but institutions also indicate that they have already im- plemented a number of initiatives with regard to building relationships, discovering de- mand, and marketing. Potentials for increased demand for tertiary VEU Recent overall increase in tertiary VEU indicates a potential for realizing greater demand for part-time academy profession programs in so far as there is a relevant high-quality supply targeting production and technical fields and construction, along with flexible models for supply. The enterprise survey shows that 41% of enterprises in production, installation technology, and building and construction expect skilled employees in tech- nical and production jobs to need to strengthen their competences to a tertiary qualifica- tion level. Data indicate that this is the equivalent of 32,000 skilled workers who will need a competence boost. It should be noted, however, that this can take place through individual modules as well as through an entire program carried out part-time. In addi- tion, the survey does not indicate how much enterprises are willing to invest in increased
  10. 10. Teknologisk Institut 10 tertiary VEU efforts. Finally, some middle managers and employees indicate that interest for enrolling in a tertiary VEU program will be greatest for employees with at least 10 years remaining on the labor market; this can have consequences for demand, given the age profile of skilled workers, with an aging workforce in both manufacturing and con- struction in particular. Education and training can under certain circumstance contribute to skills based innovation Although skilled workers' participation rate in tertiary VEU has so far been relatively low - about 1/3 of all participants - the mapping shows that academies of professional higher education can contribute to enterprise development; 36% of enterprises report that skilled workers have within the past three years participated in further education and courses supplied by academies of professional higher education. The installation technol- ogy field is especially represented - 56% - probably because a number of electricians have obtained special qualifications related to energy or have participated in full-time programs to become installation contractors. A great number - 91% - of these enterpris- es indicate that they are satisfied with the outcome of these initiatives, and that their employees' core professional competences have been strengthened. Value added has permitted these enterprises to take on new assignments and broaden their market so that they can deliver for broader service contacts. These results indicate that tertiary VEU can strengthen competitiveness in other technical, production, and construction trades, if supply is made visible and especially if supply is increasingly organized as part-time de- livery that can accommodate working adults and the fact that enterprise production has been trimmed since the crisis and it is difficult to make do without the individual employ- ee. The interviews emphasize an increased awareness in enterprises that tertiary VEU and individual modules can give skilled workers a more in-depth knowledge basis and permit them to understand and react within complex contexts thereby strengthening firm agility and the overall innovation performance and speed of innovation, according to company data. In this way tertiary VEU is a potential innovation enabler. Implementation of digital technologies not skills neutral- two main approaches It has often been said that there is but a modest tradition for formalized tertiary VEU in technical, production, and construction fields. Nevertheless the analysis indicates that enterprises are quite educationally active, but have various strategic approaches to ter- tiary VEU and to use of the public further and continuing education systems. The map- ping shows two main approaches to competence development of skilled workers. These approaches cross sectoral lines, and are linked to enterprises' organization of work pro- cesses and approach to automation and digitization, and ultimately to the competitive- ness strategies pursued. Though efficiency gains are a highly prioritized target for in- vestment in automation and a wider range of digital technologies for all the, then for one group of companies it is the key priority, whilst for the other group efficiency gains are complemented by a wider transformation of business processes, work organization and product/service configuration and with the aim of achieving agility and higher speed of innovation and strong customer relationships. The strategic approach to digitalization has huge consequences for the quality of work, skills utilization and development opportunities. The reactive firms
  11. 11. Teknologisk Institut 11 One group of firms can be characterized as "reactive" - a term enterprises themselves use. They only invest in any form of training when there is a specific and apparent need, competence development aims at training the skills for specific job tasks in conjunction with using new equipment and tools in particular - and mostly in the form of informal training, which at best leads to a certificate from a supplier. The attitude is that if in- vestments in education are to be made, the demand for tertiary VEU must originate from the employee, and the employers do not encourage their employees to undertake educa- tion and training unless it is for an existing and specific job role where a mis-match or a gap has arisen. The idea of educating the workforce to raise the general competence lev- el of the firm- also when the education is relevant to the business strategy, tertiary VEU is seen as a major risk, which will likely result in employees being "educated out of the shop floor". These enterprises typically have clear dividing lines between what skilled workers do, what unskilled workers do and what engineers do- with the two first having quite specific and narrow job functions. With digital technologies the skilled worker has more of a monitoring and inspection role, and there numbers have been reduced sub- stantially as a result of digitalization. The unskilled workers employed- have often been in the same company for years- and they know their specific work tasks so well, so it re- quires relatively little training to upskill them to use new digital equipment is the percep- tion of several companies. These enterprises have invested in digitalization primarily to improve efficiency, and changes in work processes are primarily driven by the automa- tion of some tasks at the shop floor. Adaptation of work tasks and training mainly aim to ensure that shop floor workers can use more than one piece of equipment in the actual production process, but workers are only trained to undertake those specific extra tasks. Automation in this sense primarily revolves around reduction of costs and with reference to the salary levels of the skilled employees. When these companies invest in training they primarily focus on specific technical skills and they see a big advantage in using the suppliers rather than public providers; the argument is that shop-floor workers are trained on the equipment they are going to use, and this reduces implementation costs and ensures that workers are up to maximum productivity faster. A few of the enterpris- es have comprehensive in-house continuing training targeting their technology basis and products. Several enterprises admit that peer training is not the best solution, because it is often too unstructured for quality demands. Proactive firms The other group of enterprises has a more strategic approach to competence develop- ment. These enterprises see opportunities to strengthen development functions and cus- tomer involvement through increased internal flexibility, so that engineers and skilled workers collaborated in project-like and more fluid work processes that will typically en- gage customers and users in development processes. The implementation of digital tech- nologies is seen as a strategic choice to improve agility and speed of innovation, and it is typically accompanied by transformation of work organization practices, business models and product/ service configuration and value proposition. Skilled workers trained in the dual system is in that context perceived as a critical source of innovation due to their tacit insights in production processes and materials. Due to that perceived skills needs are not so much an issue about ICT operational skills as it is a question of developing a breadth and with of skills that can support that the shop floor worker can play an ena- bling role in the digital transformation of the enterprise and its value proposition. Hence, there is a strong motivation at the company level to ensure that skilled workers have a deeper and coherent understanding of the business processes as a whole and how
  12. 12. Teknologisk Institut 12 value added is and can be generated - also because in this digital environment they typi- cally move from having relatively fixed job tasks to a much more fluid role of task alloca- tion. Rather than recruiting new staff with an associate degree, this group of companies emphasize that they need people with skills at the associate degree level in terms of the technological foundation skills and knowledge base, but they should also have a deep and practical understanding of the production processes - hence the focus on building on top of an upper secondary vocational profile through the apprenticeship system, to achieve what the production managers call an engineer lite. Whereas the companies that have implemented digital technologies primarily for efficiency gains see further education as a risk of educating the skilled workers out of the shop floor, the companies that pursue a wider transformation strategy- see a coherent skills investment- and skills utilization strategy as a key element to successful digital transformation. Formalised further education potentially replace vendor certificates and in- house training when digital technologies become a driver of a wider enterprise transformation Through further and higher level education and training skilled workers can contribute to the development and documentation of complex customer-adapted solutions by acquiring insights into technology platforms where advanced programmable robots play increasing- ly important roles and requirements for documentation are increasingly detailed. The main reason for investment in formalized further education and training is that skilled workers thus can contribute across development, production, and maintenance, which in turn greatly enhance productivity. Through the digital integrated platform the enterprises closely link development, production, delivery and services and the digital technologies also tend to drive an opening of innovation processes with a closer involvement of cus- tomer, ends users and collaboration with lead firms in design and development. It there- fore becomes a strategic challenge that the shop floor worker understands and can oper- ate and change tasks within the digitally integrated production environment from a tech- nical, functional, and business process and value creation perspective. Within that envi- ronment the tasks undergo major transformations and are no longer tied to one or two specific job functions. The successful transformation is key to achieving increased organi- zational agility. For that reason in-house training and technical certifications are not suffi- cient due to that the skilled shop floor worker must be able to act upon increasingly complex information in an organizational context of flux - and this increases the need for a knowledge base and associated skills which are deeper and also wider than the type of codified skills sets that platform supplier certificates typically represent. Though there is a need for academic content, both employees, shop stewards and production managers interviewed emphasize that a curriculum transformation is needed as well. It should take it point of departure in recognizable situations and challenges from the production envi- ronment- and should offer rich opportunities to acquire academic skills applied to the solving of a particular challenge, and quite a large number of companies point to that learning could be enhanced by adopting simulations that emulate the digital production environment and the collaboration within and across firm boundaries. It is arguable, however, whether the education providers of associate courses have a sufficient understanding of the disruptive and transformative potentials of digital technol- ogy to be able to deliver the type of education needed, in particular because they so far have had limited engagement with enterprises and mainly through HRM representatives.
  13. 13. Teknologisk Institut 13 3.2. Skilled workers' job functions and competence needs in the enterprises that pursue agility Changing work processes - skilled workers with transversal functions Danish manufacturing enterprises are currently - at varying rates and with varying ambi- tions - digitizing and automating their production processes and facilities. The tendency towards more advanced and automated production facilities brings changes in the organ- ization of work processes. Where skilled workers previously performed specific and well defined functions, they must increasingly take part in tasks and functions across the en- tire production plant in those companies that implement digital technologies for wider innovation purposes. Skilled production workers typically monitor, maintain, and optimize the production facility so it can function as efficiently as possible. As a consequence of increased automation and digitization, some enterprises reorganize their procedures to increase innovation speed and to involve clients to a greater degree in development, for example in designing production processes or specifying installation solutions and their documentation. If these enterprises are to perform with agility and a high level of inter- nal flexibility they must work in a project-based manner, which demands new technical project management skills in their skilled workers. Increased demands for documentation, communication, and technical English As skilled workers carry out functions that are increasingly cross-disciplinary and flexible, they are faced with increasing demands for documentation of work processes and must be increasingly fluent in technical English and German. Documentation can take up as much as 75% of a skilled worker's day. Formalization and broader technological skills requirements All trades are faced with increased automation, digitization, and speed of innovation of technology platforms and accompanying communication protocols. Skilled workers are thus faced with demands for more in-depth structured knowledge about technology plat- forms, integration, user interfaces, and communication protocols and standards - rather than demands for specific skills. Many skilled workers are self-taught in new technology, especially programming. Control and monitoring technology has become more complex, and it is no longer sufficient to merely have PLC skills. There is a need for knowledge about developmental trends of PLC systems, including a systematic and structured ap- proach to their programming. As more and more advanced robots are implemented in production facilities, there are increased demands for skilled workers' knowhow, also re- garding fine-tuning of robots. Some enterprises that are furthest in implementing robot technology and automation find that adult continuing education and training (AMU) no longer is sufficient, as skilled workers need a deeper conceptual knowledge about the technologies as well as formalized programming skills - and typically this requires some higher level of math and physics in particular, several companies have found. Develop- ments in control technology also have consequences for electro-technical fields. Skilled workers must increasingly understand test data and component-embedded software in order to troubleshoot efficiently and correctly and deliver proactive service. Exploiting data Increased automation and digitization present new opportunities for production optimiza- tion by analyzing production data, for example related to breakdowns, in order to pre- vent future occurrences. Data can also be used for traceability and security purposes and in an innovation context. Many manufacturing companies are aware of the poten-
  14. 14. Teknologisk Institut 14 tials, but currently lack the skills to make use of the data both for operational and strate- gic purpose. The analysis led to the development of three generic competence profiles in industrial automation, intelligent buildings, and digital construction - plus subject areas in for ex- ample materials technology and materials recycling and re-use based on a task based approach to analysis of the nature of change in skills at the occupational level. 3.3. Barriers to tertiary VEU - and possible solutions Enterprise and employee barriers The mapping shows major barriers to participation in formal continuing education and training for the enterprises and their employees. It is a barrier if the enterprise has to make do without one of its production employees because staffing of the production line has been trimmed to the utmost since the crisis. At present most of the formal continuing education and training provision in technical fields at the tertiary level is not offered as modules and with a flexible time duration. Some enterprises point out that some employ- ees may be hesitant to enroll in a tertiary education program because many skilled work- ers in technical, industrial, and construction fields are older and have not been in formal education for many years. Education institutions unanimously indicate that some skilled workers might need to start with "refreshment courses" in technical mathematics, written communication, physics, English, and study techniques if they are to complete and bene- fit sufficiently from tertiary VEU. Competence assessment and clarification coupled with targeted personal guidance could optimize the outcome of participation, but in the ter- tiary sector validation of prior learning plays a limited role. Flexible forms of education are important The enterprises were asked about initiatives that could make tertiary VEU more attractive and easier for skilled workers to complete. Responses show that it is especially important for programs to be carried out as part-time education (55%), to be more praxis-oriented and organized so they target adults (55%), and to be preceded by customized preparato- ry introduction courses for employees who have not been in a formal education setting for some time (54%). Many enterprises also indicate that programs should include the possibility of enterprise located teaching (52%). The use of digital learning technologies is also somewhat significant (31%). In the qualitative interviews, enterprises point out that the increasing digitization of work processes must also be reflected in the organiza- tion and implementation of education programs in the use of software and platforms. It is however worth noticing that the experiences in using advanced digital simulations - for example as developed by Siemens - are almost untrodden territory in continuing tech- nical training in Denmark at present. The limited supply of tertiary VEU limits visibility. Enterprises need targeted guidance Not surprisingly, the mapping shows that the limited supply has an effect on the visibility of tertiary VEU for technical and production fields; 62% of enterprises say that targeted guidance and information from suppliers could increase their participation in tertiary VEU. Enterprises point to a lack of consumer information that can give them an overview of tertiary VEU, and they find that regulations and application procedures for subsidy are much too complicated and that there is little knowledge available about conditions for receiving adult education grants (SVU). Enterprises would like to see a single internet
  15. 15. Teknologisk Institut 15 site which presents an overview of academy profession programs, information about when and where modules are offered, and what the costs are. Enterprises would like to see activities that can increase interaction between education institutions and enterprises and clarify needs and development trends; they also need more information - based on enterprise experience - about the effects of tertiary VEU. This is especially important be- cause of the current speed of technological development. Systematic outreach in progress Education institutions admit that written marketing material by itself is insufficient to increase demand. There is a need for outreach to and counselling of enterprises; here the social partners and trade associations can play a central role in clarifying the value added of tertiary VEU. Some academies of professional higher education are beginning to col- laborate with social partners and trade associations to meet with enterprises' manage- ment and shop stewards in order to initiate dialog about further education opportunities for skilled workers. Several enterprises point out the importance of also including middle management - for example plant managers - since they typically have the direct respon- sibility - rather than central HRM - for deciding on education and training of the shop floor workers.