Upskilling the workforce

The HVM Catapult continues to be at the forefront of technical skills development in the UK, working as part of the Workforce Foresighting Hub.

As the UK transitions towards a low-carbon economy, we are increasingly dependent on new and innovative technologies. This shift is evident at all stages of the product lifecycle – from product design through to the end user. With technologies filtering through into everyday usage, it is crucial to train technicians with the skills required to adopt and maintain them. The manufacturing sector has a key role to play in ensuring our nation is on the cutting edge of innovation, with all the technical skills required for the future.

The HVM Catapult continues to be at the forefront of this drive to restructure the economy. In March 2022, we completed the Department for Education-funded Emerging Skills Programme (ESP). The £1.3m project was focused on developing a national skill base in the technologies required for the increased usage of electric vehicles. These green skills are vital to reach the government’s target of net zero by 2050, particularly in everyday areas such as electric vehicle manufacture.

The project was a great success, delivering high-quality modular courses for both workers and trainers on a mass scale to prepare for rollout into the wider education system. The training was delivered free of charge and will provide a foundation for the automotive and other transport sectors to achieve net zero by 2050.

Even now that the training programme has ended, the ESP units continue to be available here, where they can continue to drive progress in the UK’s technical education system. The programme delivered more than 50 units covering electrification, digitisation, additive manufacture and advanced materials. The units can be used both as the basis of a standalone short course and as part of a longer programme of learning and qualification.


Workforce Foresighting Hub

Logo for the Workforce Foresighting Hub

Following the conclusion of the ESP, the Catapult Network has been working closely with Innovate UK to develop the Workforce Foresighting Hub. This development and delivery programme managed on behalf of Innovate UK, seeks to provide the process, insight and recommendations required for industry, policymakers and educators to adapt to continuing change. Employing global data and identifying future skills demands in the three critical areas of workforce, supply chain capability and technology, the Workforce Foresighting Hub helps employers and educators to understand what changes are needed to avoid a skills shortfall and lead future industry.

The Workforce Foresighting Hub, being delivered by MTC, aims to develop skills foresighting processes, tools and training, and to support Catapults to deploy foresighting in their own organisations. It will also play a role in collecting and publishing workforce foresighting data and promoting foresighting as part of an overall skills value chain approach for the UK. The Workforce Foresighting Hub provides the HVM Catapult with the opportunity to bring greater expertise into technical education across Innovate UK’s three impact domains of net zero, healthy living and agriculture, and digital technologies. The objective is to use foresighting projects to develop recommendations in reports for action on workforce skills provision.


Karen Green, Chief People and Skills Officer, HVM Catapult said:

Science and innovation thrive on the knowledge and expertise of thousands of people across the country. Skills are a natural by-product and vice-versa.

“To truly foster inclusivity in innovation, we must prioritise accessibility and availability of skills locally. The are many regions out there which have Catapults at their core playing a crucial role in using their unique networks to help predict the future skills requirements in different sectors and build services to help meet those requirements.

“Government has ambitions to forge a better Britain and for the UK to be a science superpower. It is recognised that national skills capability and plans are needed to enable that. Catapults are one of the many interventions doing just that.

“There is a lot to do and by working together alongside Innovate UK we will shape the skills needed for the future of our nation.

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Upskilling the UK workforce is crucial to manufacturers to harness the emerging technologies of today and tomorrow

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