Engineer with tablet checks robot , symbolizes Industry 4.0

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The digital transformation will fundamentally change the world of work in manufacturing. The Conference on ‘Work in Progress – People and Industrie 4.0’ addressed one of the major challenges of our times: what is the future of work in industry going to look like?

On 10 February 2020, Dr Ulrich Nußbaum, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Prof. Dr Wolf-Dieter Lukas, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and Plattform Industrie 4.0 jointly hosted a conference at the Economic Affairs Ministry.

Around 250 representatives from the Federal Government, companies, associations, trade unions and academia attended the event. The main areas covered were artificial intelligence, agile working, and education and training.

Dr Ulrich Nußbaum said: “We want to shape the digitalisation of industry to the lasting benefit of human beings, and we want to promote decent work. If we take the right decisions now, we can make sure Germany will remain an attractive global business location while promoting the social partnership approach. We want to bring together key players from business, academia and society to develop innovative solutions.”

Prof. Dr Wolf-Dieter Lukas said: “In the digital transformation, education is key. It ought to prepare people for the jobs of tomorrow. We must shape the world of work of the future in such a way that all people are able to develop their talents and maintain their material well-being. To this end, we are making education and training fit for the future, adapting them to meet the requirements of digital business and production processes.”

As part of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 Working Group on ‘Work, Education and Training’, human resource managers, chairs of works councils, and associations are working under the leadership of the trade union IG Metall to develop recommendations and examples of practical applications for the future of work in industry. The results were presented at the conference through workshops and publications.