The importance of CNC manufacturing education to the economy
Posted by Bert Maes on September 8, 2009
The amount of students graduating in “Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction” studies is declining. Manufacturing is perceived as
- largely based on manual work
- being no longer relevant to modern economies
- low paid
- having poor working conditions
- having limited opportunities for advancement
Additionally, manufacturing employment numbers drop in many countries. The low-skilled jobs are going off shore. However, the occupations that need high levels of skills seem still to be here , as production in Europe focuses on high value, technologically advanced products, providing good quality jobs. The components for our hi-tech products are usually coming from East Asia where the low-value commodity products are made – those that often involve boring and repetitive jobs.
An increasing demand for highly and medium-skilled manufacturing workers is expected, i.e. those people with advanced hi-tech high-quality knowledge, able to manufacture complex goods (with high productivity) in the field of environmentally sustainable and clean technologies (energy, smart materials, robotics,…) minimizing environmental and human health risks and meeting mankind’s needs.
Productivity will need to rise urgently, with the ageing effect coming straight at us. The population of working-age will drop by 15% in the EU between 2008 and 2060. From 2020 the working-age population will enter a downward trajectory. The EU will move from having 4 working-age people for every dependent person aged over 65 years to a ratio of 2 to 1. 
We’ll need many more young people (and especially women) in high-quality technical education to widely spread knowledge and skills in advanced (CNC) manufacturing to secure the wealth creation in Europe  and a high-quality of life.
 The amount of engineering, manufacturing & construction graduates is rising in most industrial countries; however the rate of increase is often lower than in other subjects. As a consequence, specialisation in the manufacturing fields declines.
 The share of employment in high- and medium-high-technology sectors compared to the total employment is more or less steady between 2000 and 2007: 6.69% for EU27
 Europop2008 population projections
 Manufacturing in the European Union accounts for 22 percent of EU GDP