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Upskilling for Advanced Manufacturing Workplaces – Generational differences

This summary suggests ways to strengthen training, overcome generational divides, and rebrand manufacturing trades to attract more young people and women into the trades:

Broadband vs. dial-up generations

Generational differences affect digital upskilling:
• Apprentices are typically digitally savvy. They prefer text and e-mail communication, whereas established journeypersons are less comfortable with basic digital tasks and prefer voice and face-to-face communication.
• Older tradespeople are often more proficient with traditional methods. Younger apprentices may only know how to use emerging technologies.
• The pace of digitization can be overwhelming for older journeypersons. They may offload digital tasks to younger staff while being reluctant to pass along traditional trade knowledge for fear of losing their jobs.

These generational differences can impede apprentices’ on-the-job learning, specifically of digital skills. Journeypersons may not be familiar enough with emerging technologies to mentor apprentices on technical skills. In addition, miscommunication can intensify differences in work style: Some apprentices can’t directly communicate their questions, and some journeypersons can’t adequately process online queries.

For knowledge to be transferred, both parties require core communication skills: active listening skills and the ability to convey information in a way that is attentive to generational preferences.


The following suggestions could strengthen apprenticeship training and lifelong learning in the Canadian manufacturing sector:
• Highlight emerging skills in recruitment efforts.
• Develop a knowledge transfer strategy to address emerging skills.
– Promote team mentoring on emerging skills.
– Use reverse mentoring to help journeypersons upgrade their digital skills.
• Integrate generational considerations into mentorship training.
• Integrate social and emotional skills into inclusive workplace strategies.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Rising Skills: Digital Upskilling for Advanced Manufacturing Workplaces

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