MSAM Master's student invited to panel discussion on "Skills for the Future of Manufacturing" at WMF 2019 Annual Meeting

Brian Jeong, M.Sc. student with Waterloo’s Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) lab was one of only two students across the globe invited to attend the World Manufacturing Forum (WMF) 2019 Annual Meeting. Read about Brian’s experience below and scroll down for some great images:

The World Manufacturing Forum (WMF) aims to promote innovation and development in the manufacturing sector with the fundamental goal of improving competitiveness in all nations through dialogue and cooperation among the manufacturing sector’s key players. Each year, they host an Annual Meeting: an invitation-only event where global policy experts, industrial leaders, and eminent academic and research innovators address and discuss the challenges and trends in global manufacturing. This year, the meeting was held in Cernobbio, Italy, from September 25 to 27, where 1500 leaders across the globe attended and discussed the theme of “Skills for the Future of Manufacturing”.

Two students were selected globally to represent the younger generation workforce and speak to the issues and challenges of the skills gap in light of new technologies brought upon by the rapid digitalization in manufacturing. Myself and Ricardo Abimelec (Monterrey, Mexico) were among the two selected.

During my panel discussion, we discussed the need to place our focus on people rather than technology – to invest into our younger generation as well as our current workforce. That means providing up-to-date education and resources in academic institutions as well as our workplaces to combat the fast-moving manufacturing industry and increasing complexity in technology. Other topics discussed were creating an excitement around pursuing careers in manufacturing while diversifying and opening up opportunities for youths and the younger generation, creating a trust and collaboration culture in our workplaces to empower and challenge the workforce, and digging deeper into asking the “why” before implementing or developing a technology that could eliminate jobs.

It was an incredible honour and privilege that I was able to participate in this major event and represent the student body globally and nationally. It was encouraging to meet many Canadian representatives leading the charge on seeing our nation’s manufacturing sector flourish. I think if I were to take home one thing with me, it would be that we need to invest in our people – whether it be by educating them, empowering them, creating a healthy work environment, or using technology simply as a tool for humanity, rather than our lives being driven by it.

I am grateful for the support of the World Manufacturing Forum, for Randy Zadra, the Advanced Manufacturing Consortium and the University of Waterloo for opening up the opportunity, for Rossella Luglietti in managing the logistics and the event, and Autodesk Toronto for their kind support.

If you would like an overview of the topics covered, you can download the WMF Global Report here:

Brian Jeong
MASc Candidate, Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering

Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing, University of Waterloo

Selected imagery provided by Brian: