The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is set to revolutionise the way we work over the coming decades


The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is already changing the world around us and is set to revolutionise the way we work over the coming decades, yet very few manufacturers seem to be taking action.

Only 11% of manufacturers believe they are ready to take advantage of it, despite 80% believing it will be a reality by 2025.Whilst it is hard to forecast the future with Brexit and political uncertainty on the up, one thing that we can be sure of is that the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) will be digitally driven. It will need cutting edge technological understanding and manufacturing logic to find, design and implement these new solutions and improve productivity.

Manufacturers predict that the 4IR will be focused around new technologies such as sensors, robotics and data analytics. This will ensure a comprehensive insight into product use, productivity enhancement and increasing competitiveness. Consequently, new innovative techniques will immerge and will change the products, processes and relationships involved in every aspect of the industry.

Better customer experiences, higher levels of efficiency and more highly skilled jobs will be the result of the 4IR journey. Of course, this level of change doesn’t come without its disturbances. The 4IR will cause major disruption to traditional business models, and there will be a dramatic increase in demand for skilled, new employees and upskilling routes for the current workforce. The development of the 4IR will be a slow and potentially difficult process, but the end result will be truly exciting.

The EEF’s ‘Manufacturing Ambition 2018’ survey showed that growth ambitions for the manufacturing industry will be based on the development of new business models and services. Innovation, like a lot of other industries, will be the manufacturing focus in both new products and processes. There will also be more effort made in bringing closer collaboration within supply chains and greater investment in technologies.

Whilst manufacturers are responsible for adapting their processes to fit those of the 4IR, the government also has its own role. The industrial strategy will have to evolve and adapt to the speed that the 4IR is evolving, and must not follow at the pace of competitors, but lead them.

To seize the opportunity that the 4IR offers the manufacturing industry and the UK economy, the sector needs routes to upskill its current workforce and train new recruits in order to fully leverage this technological revolution. This is a very exciting and challenging time for the manufacturing industry and for the UK economy.

iMET has been established to partner with key sectors such as manufacturing to deliver cutting edge skills development, training and qualifications tailored to the sector’s needs.

We are in the process of developing courses and procuring equipment and would welcome your input. For the opportunity to influence the direction of iMET and skills training in your field please get in touch by emailing

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For more information, please contact David McElroy, on 01223 226463 or email

Notes to Editors

Cambridge Regional College is the top FE college in the country for 16-18 year-old level 3 student achievement and the STEM Further Education College of the Year. It is a leading apprenticeship provider, with full-time and part-time courses, apprenticeships and higher education programmes, and 3,000 full-time students and 3,800 apprentices currently in training.