To make possible the more general anticipation lifecycle concept the Observatory implements a circular action, the ‘Skills anticipation wave[1] composed by the following three moments that repeat:

  1. provoking a large interest and debate
  2. filtering the returning information
  3. making the skills anticipation exercise possible

The following chart represents the ‘Skills anticipation wave’:




[1] © consortium Alliance deploys his plans implementing a tunnelling system aimed to involve the stakeholders and to make them to give and effective contribution to the targets and finally to valorise these contributions in the concrete development of new or revised curricula. The system is composed by four steps that occur in continuous:

  1. Dissemination / awareness creation
  2. Observatory activities / consolidation of interest
  3. Skills technology foresight / decision and identification of skills needs
  4. eu constructional design implementation / sectoral action

The following chart illustrates the’s tunnelling structure: has set its Observatory on Advanced Manufacturing Sector aiming to provide the forefront solution for the innovation and improvement of the Skills Intelligence in the sector. The Observatory implements a long-term strategy aimed to:

  • build resistant, live, bi-directional interactions with a wide range of different stakeholders
  • create a persistent system of cross-relationships for the long-duration of the model
  • make a concrete influence in the industry sector and in the VET system addressing policy makers, universities and technical colleges with concrete results

The Observatory is designed in a way that:

  • provokes and sources a large debate able to stimulate a relevant interest about the skills anticipation in the sector
  • creates the necessary conditions to implement the Technology Foresight exercise and makes possible the sector skills anticipation

To provoke interest and consensus among the sector and skills needed topics, the Observatory makes publications, sign agreements of collaboration, circulates technical documents and position papers, develops the contents for the conferences, the webinars and the workshops and circulates many relevant information with the participation of the Observatory team members to a significant number of conferences and debates for an effective impact on the final targets.

To make its effect real the Observatory implements various activities and activates differentiated channels addressing diverse areas with the installation of specialised Thematic Commissions.

The Thematic Commissions are responsible for implementing on an on-going basis the animation among the stakeholders and to source their debate involving the VET practitioners’, the scientific community, the public authorities, the policy makers, the industry experts etc., focusing their attention and curiosity on the coming technologies and the needed skills and identifying and detecting all the potential sources for circulating information.

The Thematic Commissions are the operational arms of the Observatory and are planned, for the next period, to make concrete effects within the following three areas of specialization:

  • 3D Printing, jetting technologies, photopolymerisation, powder bed fusion, material extru-sion, directed energy deposition.
  • Established Manufacturing industries in transition towards industrial modernisation, e.g. in-jection moulding, machining, forming and joining
  • Creative industries, e.g. industrial and graphic design, software development, 3D publish-ing.

On annual basis, the Observatory on Additive Manufacturing for the Skills Intelligence publishes:

  • The 4.0 Annual Position Paper on education strategies for the AM sector
  • The Skillman 4.0 European outlook on AM competences and skills needs

The publications are based on desk researches, existing analysis from research bodies, including National and European Sector Skills Councils, EU Skills Panorama etc.


The focus of the Observatory is on specific challenges of the sector especially in relation to:

  • High-performing manufacturing
  • Key Enabling Technologies (KETs)
  • Digital transformation/industry 4.0, and advanced materials
  • Service innovation concepts for space data services
  • Creative industries
  • Additive Metal Hybrid Technology and multimaterial printing
  • New polymer-based additive manufacturing system for large parts
  • New direct 3D free form approaches
  • Industrial AM scenarios: medical, aerospace, automotive, industrial and other applications
  • Standardization requirements


Each Thematic Commission focuses on a specific challenge and detects its existing potential interlocutors to address them with a series of activities for sharing and interaction.

The Observatory is also addressed to exploiting synergy, at national and regional level, rolling-out a concrete cooperation with national and regional authorities and key stakeholders and finding possible interactions and collaborations with sister or complementary initiatives.

In general, the Observatory actively interconnects and coordinates all the actions and results with the existing tools and initiatives for skills development at international national and regional level.

For this process, the value of dialogue is very high and is pursued through the involvement of many different parts that, at the end are pushed to develop new needs of networking, social interaction, mutual collaboration and support in the field of skills intelligence, foresight and curricula design.

In response to change, all relevant actors need the opportunities offered by the Observatory, to sit at the same table translating the strategic dialogue into enhanced government-to-government, government-to-business, and government-to-citizen cooperation and need to support their interactions within a participate mechanism of capacity building and constructions of new knowledge.

The skills anticipation lifecycle that adopts, incorporates as one of its key components for the identification of skills needs[2], the ILO skills anticipation system[3] and it’s also ispired by the five methodological guides[4] to anticipating and matching skills and jobs, published in 2016 by Cedefop in collaboration with the ILO and ETF.

In one side, the Alliance produces researches that are accomplished via its research centres, though existing international networks, as well as in cooperation with and support of the extensive network of the numerous complementary organizations who have joined the Alliance.

In the other side the Observatory aims to actively interconnect and coordinate all the actions and results with the existing EU tools and initiatives for skills development and aims to source a large debate among stakeholders.

This process wants make tangible results such as:

  • total engagement of the audience and conversion of valuable stakeholders in assets for the future sustainability as they become open network members
  • valorisation of the results that are fully distributed and implemented by the industries and VET providers belonging to the engaged stakeholders
  • final beneficiaries involvement, because in this process, also the learners are fully engage with various dissemination campaigns, piloting, mobility and finally personal experiences that make them more aware and attracted by the sector working opportunities.

Within this approach, each stakeholder become engaged at the moment that acquires the consciousness that the updating of the existing curricula and the learning pathways is not a one time problem. The stakeholder become engaged when decide to join the community realising that the need to forecast the skills is a continuous necessity and:

  • It’s not just a one time problem for the company, that needs to follow rapid market changes and to continuously update his personnel
  • It’s just a one time problem for the VET providers that have to respond to the needs of work giving competences for the future and for life
  • It’s not just a one time problem for the learners, in a certain time of their life, because they need to plan their pathways in a lifelong learning perspective.

The researches and the stakeholders interactions are deployed within a Labour Market and Skills Intelligence European panorama that is represented by the following chart:




The Observatory provides the desk researches and organises a collaborative work with key stakeholders involved in focus group sessions, running with them a capacity building activity to design and anticipate the demand for skills in three perspectives:

  • the short-term
  • the mid-term and
  • the long-term.

The Observatory identify and involve various external participants to the foresight process and pursues a very relevant dialogue among them which, in response to change, have to sit at the same table and to translate the strategic dialogue into an enhanced cooperation. The result of this interaction that manages among the key stakeholders is also a capacity building effect that represents an additional invaluable asset in itself.

The stakeholders are actively involved to implement the STF exercises which are organised in the three canonical ILO – SKOLKOVO’s blocks:

  • designing the ‘map of the future’
  • transforming the map into a set of requirements
  • identifying specific practical recommendations

[2] Skills Strategies for Future Labour Markets, ILO ––en/index.htm

[3] Sudakov, Dmitry; Luksha, Pavel; Strietska-Ilina, Olga; Gregg, Con; Hofmann, Christine; Khachatryan, Liana, Skills Technology Foresight Guide, ILO – SKOLKOVO Education Development Centre (SEDeC), June, 2016

[4] Skills for trade and economic diversification: A practical guide. ILO, 2012 / Addresses anticipation of skills needs in promoting trade strategies and in exporting industries.

Anticipating skill needs for green jobs: A practical guide. ILO, 2015a / Addresses approaches to analysing and anticipating skills needs for the green economy and sustainable development.

Guidelines for inclusion of skills aspects into employment-related analyses and policy formulation ILO, 2015b. / Addresses the analysis of skills barriers to employability and skills needs for employment, and how to integrate the analysis in the process of national employment policy formulation.

Guide to anticipating and matching skills and jobs. Cedefop, ETF, ILO, 2015: / A compendium of tools for guidance and assistance in designing methods, instruments and institutional solutions to meet the challenge of matching current and future skills and jobs:

➢ Volume 1: Using labour market information Provides guidance on the principal types of data, data sources and indicators that can answer key policy questions related to overcoming or preventing skills mismatch.

➢ Volume 2: Developing skills foresights, scenarios and forecasts Addresses quantitative and qualitative methods of anticipation and forecasting of future skills needs at a macroeconomic level.

➢ Volume 3: Working at sector level Addresses methods, processes and institutional mechanisms of skills identification and anticipation at sectoral level.

➢ Volume 4: The role of employment service providers Addresses the role of public employment services and private employment agencies in skills anticipation and matching, including the collection and use of relevant labour market information.

➢ Volume 5: Developing and running an establishment skills survey Provides guidance on the implementation of surveys among employers (establishments) on skills shortages and gaps, recruitment difficulties and training measures.

➢ Volume 6: Carrying out tracer studies Assists training providers and analysts in designing and implementing surveys among their graduates on their employability, how their skills are used, and how those skills relate to gaps on the labour market. demonstrated a very lively attitude to promote significant initiatives in the field of the European education and training polices like the realisation of relevant publishing and debates, highly participated international conferences, numerous online impacting dissemination activities, contributions and affiliations as, for example, the membership of the European Sector Skills Council in Automotive Industry or the participation to the EU public consultations to interact with the EU institutions and to represent the specific interests of its members in the field of the VET in the advanced manufacturing sector.

The’s members expressed their commitment and political will to foster cooperation and to devise joint European curricula basing on their concrete experience and resources and, in line with the European education and training polices, they currently express their potential working in three main areas:

  • the development of a clear strategy and instruments to reduce the mismatch between the skills people are taught and the skills needed for the Advanced Manufacturing by the service sector and the manufacturing industry
  • the identification and deployment of an unique framework for strategic cooperation between key stakeholders in the field of the Advanced Manufacturing.
  • the design of a relevant set of innovative curricula, tools and resources for the education in the advanced manufacturing

The original mission, the facilitation of the EU Skills Agenda designing new learning pathways in the advanced manufacturing sector, has been afterwards added with a particular debate, generated among the members about the UNESCO 17 goals on sustainable development and related, in particular, to the ethical values that connect the competences necessary for Advanced Manufacturing to the personal responsibility.

The AM technologies require different profiles provided with skills and ethical values that currently in both, the job market in general and in the industrial companies too, are still lacking in terms of numbers, knowledge and know-how. Different figures are required, from the design phase, up to the manufacturing technician to be committed in the plant, up to the technological skilled people which have a global vision (from design, up to all the post processing), without forgetting, for example, the material experts on the different additive manufacturing portfolio[1].

The members think that the new advanced manufacturing technologies and the additive manufacturing in particular, will be more and more extended to all plants and on all manufacturing process level, since the initial prototyping phase up to the real mass production. The additive manufacturing technologies will be, also, adopted in the design and manufacturing of tools for the production process itself.

Thus, the current perspective and the objectives of the members of the platform, regarding the new printing technologies in particular, includes two aspects that mainly fit also with supranational policies in the fields of education and training:

  1. the ethical issues, that placed the Advanced Manufacturing sector skills to the attention of the members due to the existing easy possibility to use low cost 3d printing system to make weapons and
  2. the need to approach the Advanced Manufacturing for a large mass market production to support a ‘rapid European or international scale-up of innovative solutions[2].

[1] Regards education, one should not underestimate the added value of re-training existing workers. Key for the deployment of additive methods in Europe is not only teaching AM skills in the educational context, but also re-focusing skills of existing workers. AMEC 2017 –

[2] LAB – FAB – APP — Investing in the European future we want, ISBN 978-92-79-70571-7, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2017

The members of the Alliance has already designed a relevant set of innovative curricula, tools and resources for education and are still fully committed to continue their active involvement in the skills foresight exercises started in 2015. They recently added to their original mission a special attention to the ethical issues launching a large debate among industry, educational institutes and social parts, about the individual responsibility consequent to linking the technological competences to the ethical values.

They finally will to upscale the model, experience, approach and results to a largest coverage and to the systemic level and in particular they aim to:

  • create innovation in the VET system, finalising the circular approach for the skills foresight in a more mature system and giving tangible results suitable for the publication in the EU Skills Panorama or in other collection systems
  • improves existing learning pathways and devises additionally new joint European curricula for professions forecasted for the Advanced Manufacturing sector
  • release curricula solutions and open educational materials for free and open use
  • makes changes in the VET provisions that are measurable
  • envisage results and solutions for the VET system that are aligned with the EU standards, transferable and accessible to a broader audience