Manufacturing must engage the Gen Z workforce

The global manufacturing sector is facing a talent crisis.  When the last of the Baby-Boomer workforce retires, it will need to have recruited a new generation of workers – the upcoming Generation ‘Z-ers’ – and fast.

Herein lies the problem. According to the new Barclays Corporate Banking Manufacturing reportA New Image for Manufacturing, manufacturing is simply not on the career radar of the emerging Generation Z workforce.

The report surveyed 2,000 16-23 year olds to understand how perceptions of manufacturing have changed, and 500 manufacturing decision-makers to reveal what businesses have been doing to recruit new employees, and upskill their existing workforce to use new technologies.

Only 6% of UK 16-23 year-olds have been found to consider careers in manufacturing, with only 3% of young women looking to manufacturing as their chosen path. Overall, it ranked only 17th out of 19 potential career paths.

Fix the image problem

Manufacturing has an image problem. Despite talk of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and the leaps and bounds manufacturing has made in the application of advanced technology, young people simply aren’t connecting the career dots.

The report found 23% of young people to be looking to careers in digital and technology, and 22% to IT and computing. It’s clear there are huge opportunities for those individuals to pursue these technology careers in a manufacturing setting.

But it’s not just about tech. The skills most in demand from young people: decision-making, social, resource management, complex problem-solving, and technical, are not perceived as those offered by the manufacturing sector. That perception couldn’t be more wrong.

The good news is that many manufacturers are now taking action to address this. And Cidori client Lear Corporation is one of them.

Build the talent pipeline

As a Fortune 500 global leader in automotive seating, Lear Corporation is offering attractive manufacturing career opportunities for young people, and doing so through its nation-wide bespoke apprenticeship programme, designed by Cidori in partnership with Gateshead College.

More than 100 young apprentices at its Coventry plant are already working on projects designed to build a wide range of skillsets and benefit the company,  improving the smooth running of production lines, making the workplace safer, and reducing unnecessary waste and costs.

The programme is now being rolled out to Lear operatives and line managers at other sites across the country. Adam Ford, Continuous Improvements Manager at Lear, said: “Our aim is to give apprentices the skillset as well as the opportunity to make improvements that will have a significant impact on our business, help build our talent pipeline, and develop their careers. Our partnership with Cidori helps us achieve this.”

Image: Sylwia Skowronska from Lear Coventry wins Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year award at the Gateshead College Edge Awards.

Continuously improve

We work with a number of large manufacturers developing bespoke apprenticeship programmes that have proven business benefits and help make the most of Levy funds.

Your workplace could benefit from any or all of the following:

  • on-the-job training in your workplace with dedicated, qualified tutors
  • apprenticeship programmes for existing employees as well as new recruits
  • programmes available fromLevel 2 nationally recognised qualifications
  • cost-effective, funded development of your talent pipeline & upskilling existing employees
  • apprenticeships available in hundreds of job roles, covering most service areas and responsibilities
  • massive financial, operational and HR benefits, based on employer feedback

We know this as fact, as we’ve spent the last 12 months capturing business improvement outcomes from every one of our apprenticeship clients.

We’re here to help

Cidori’s tailored approach means flexibility – we want you to focus on those elements of the programme that directly meet your business needs. We understand that people with the right skills are hard to find and pivotal to your long-term growth.

Find out more

Cidori delivers bespoke apprenticeships in manufacturing that are developed in partnership with RoATP accredited, Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’, Gateshead College.

For a no-obligation discussion on how your business can benefit from a Cidori bespoke apprenticeship programme please contact

David Murfitt

01788 851230

Useful links

Gateshead College
Lear Client Case Study
Press coverage (The Manufacturer)