Industrie 4.0 means high-quality jobs – not factories devoid of people. But Industrie 4.0 will change the way we work. Employees will become more involved in the processes that are used; for example they need to coordinate workflows, control communication processes and quickly make their own decisions.

As information technology, automation technology and software become ever more intertwined, the organisational roles that need to be filled become ever more complex and transversal skills become more sought after. Of course, we also need to keep in mind the risks posed by digitalisation: What are the implications as the boundaries between different job roles become ever more blurred? How can we help employees obtain the skills they need in the age of Industrie 4.0?

One of the long-term opportunities offered by Industrie 4.0 is that jobs in industry can be moved back to Germany. This is because low wages will no longer be the sole factor in determining where to build a factory.

Providing the right training and reskilling opportunities is one of the key factors in this context: we will need to provide a wide range of different training and reskilling opportunities and a working environment that encourages life-long learning. In order to meet the requirements posed by this new world of work, vocational and academic training programmes need to be enhanced in close cooperation with industry. Building partnerships between companies and universities could be one option here.