Discussing the Skills Gap over a Beer: Live from Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, MI

A recruiter, a manufacturing leader, and a technology leader all walk into a bar… and tackle the skills gap problem head-on over some beers!

The skills gap has been a hot topic in manufacturing. So, in true Manufacturing Happy Hour style, we sit down with a beer and discuss. Recorded live from Founders Brewery, MI while on tour with SwipeGuide, we sit down with Ann Wyatt of Ann Wyatt Recruiting, Ryan Lillibridge, VP of Mission Design & Automation, and CEO and Founder of SwipeGuide, Willemijn Schneyder.

First up, we talk about how the stigma of heading into the trades is thankfully on the decrease. We swap insights on how the idea of “hireability” is changing, and what companies can do to lower the barriers to entry. A common theme throughout is that manufacturing leaders need to be more flexible when it comes to hiring. Do all candidates need a Master’s in mechanical engineering? Probably not. For the future of manufacturers, attitude and aptitude are the golden tickets.

We rounded out the conversation talking about upskilling and reskilling your workforce. Part of the skills gap problem isn’t just about attracting people to manufacturing. It’s also about missing a trick with your existing workforce. Sometimes, you need to tap into their knowledge and interests and reskill them for an increasingly tech-heavy future.

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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. By making job descriptions strict and demanding degrees from candidates with ten years of experience, we are missing out on a pool of potential people who could bring knowledge, attitude, and aptitude to the space.
  2. To address the skills gap, don’t just look at recruiting the next generation of manufacturers. Existing workforces have a wealth of knowledge and experience that you can tap into and upskill.
  3. Technology shouldn’t be relied on as THE solution. It should be seen as a tool to empower workers, especially frontline staff, to reduce menial tasks and produce value elsewhere.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “Technology can put a value to frontline knowledge.”
  • “We do automation. We put automation systems into factories, but if they haven’t spent time on their people, their manufacturing equipment does not run well because they haven’t up skilled their team.”
  • “We have to prioritize attitude and aptitude over ten plus years’ experience.”

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

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What We Discuss with Ann, Ryan, and Willemijn

  • Ann, Ryan, and Willemijn introduce themselves and their unique perspectives on addressing the skills gap
  • How the stigma around trade jobs has evolved
  • How the term “hireability” has evolved in today’s market from a recruiter’s perspective
  • What companies can do to lower the barriers to entry into manufacturing and why recruiters should look at attitude and aptitude, not just experience and formal education
  • Ann, Ryan, and Willemijn share which job requirements they think are outdated in today’s market and the top skills that manufacturing recruiters should look for
  • Why technology is not the solution but a catalyst to empower the workforce
  • How upskilling and reskilling existing staff could help to ease the burden of the skills gap
  • Why people are the most valuable asset of a business that leaders should invest more in

Recommended Resources

Connect with Ann, Ryan, and Willemijn

Ann Wyatt | Ryan Lillibridge | Willemijn Schneyder