The skills and attractiveness of microelectronics in Europe

Training and expertise
Published on 11/08/2022

“The skills and attractiveness of microelectronics in Europe” : back to the event of October 13th at INP-Grenoble (France).

Companies, Research and Technology Organisation (RTO), Clusters, Universities, Training Organizations and administrations were able to present their needs, successes or challenges. All exchanged on their experiences, their visions and their solutions to strengthen, develop and relocate the Microelectronics industry in Europe.

15 highly skilled speakers debated with the audience made up of more than forty participants.

The round table was divided in 3 parts, with debate and open questions from the audience: 

  • Part 1: In-demand skills from microelectronics businesses and manufacturers.
  • Part 2: Current and future training offers to meet these in-demand skills
  • Part 3: Synthesis and debate with policy makers: which upcoming initiatives could stimulate vocational education in microelectronics?

Back on the agenda

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During this round table, the players in the sector noted the need in Europe for researchers and engineers in microelectronics, and especially technicians and operators, for whom recruitment difficulties are significant. This fast-growing industry too often struggles to attract talent. This is true for other professions in these companies, in support and management functions. This question of attractiveness also arises for certain initial courses, which have difficulty filling their courses.

However, there are concrete success stories in the field in Europe, which were presented during this roundtable. Stakeholders in the field, including companies, training organizations and government agencies, must continue their efforts to cooperate and innovate in order to improve the attractiveness of microelectronics and the adequacy of training to the rapid changes in the market.
More public investment and ambitious policies are also expected to meet these challenges, so that Europe can sustainably strengthen this crucial microelectronics sector on its territory.

This round-table has proven to be a great success for the ECOVEM project, aiming to concretize future collaborations with stakeholders in the microelectronics field and influence the agenda policy-makers.

The partners of the ECOVEM project and INES-PFE, the organizer of this event, warmly thank all the speakers and participants, as well as the INES Plateforme Formation et Evaluation team for making this event live and prolific.

To go further:

1st part of the round table

During the 1st part of this round table, microelectronics professionals, companies, industries and Research and Technology Organisations (RTO), shared their needs for recruiting engineers and researchers in Microelectronics, in laboratories as well as in clean rooms, but also technicians or operators, missing profiles to prompt the right applications. Moreover, the technicians’ and engineers’ needs from other specialties are necessary and their recruitment is tense on the labor market, particularly in maintenance, process management or IT.

In addition, a profound challenge is perceived in the support and management professions, which are essential to all kind of industry. Complementary to need technical skills, the soft skills expected for employees in microelectronics are demanding: adaptability in a rapidly and constantly changing environment, to multicultural environments cultures, and travelling abroad.…

Trying to respond to the above-mentioned challenges on skills and attractiveness, companies already offer inner diploma or continuing internal training, whilst clusters or competitiveness centers provide support and actions for a better coordination and visibility of this sector.  Innovating on attractiveness has been strictly highlighted, while providing evidence of the slogan "Intel inside" which made a difference and made visible the importance of microelectronics products. Another example was the need to adapt to young people's means of communication, and why not daring to use "influencers / youtubers" to relay bewitching information about this sector.

Finally, investment by public authorities has been targeted as essential for better guidance of the youngest and developing the appeal of technical and scientific disciplines, for gender balance, and for a broad support for this sector.

Speakers during the 1st part:

2nd part of the round table

For the 2nd part of the roundtable, the initial and continuing training organizations (VET centers) presented their training offers, with face-to-face or remote modalities, covering from microelectronics basics to its multiple applications. The relevance of highlighting the latest can be also an asset for its attractiveness, for example through the production of photovoltaic energy.

The successful establishment of an engineering school (in Physics, Electronics and Materials Science) in the local economic ecosystem and its international influence was explained.

The excellence of many of these training courses should not overshadow the still existing need for financial and human resources for some universities to carry out practical exercises. The training of technicians was therefore presented, explaining the evolution of the French “DUT” diploma towards “BUT”, and followed-up by a reflection on the place of technicians in French the labour market. “How can a technician evolve in his career, towards higher remuneration and greater responsibilities? Can it only be achieved by studying at an engineering school?” was inquired by both the speakers and the audience. The answer lies in move forward with reflections on how to train and recruit technicians in this the sector, which implies cultural changes and practices in the labour market.

Examples in other European countries were presented, with the broad offer and initiatives of the Technical University of Sofia, as well as the particularities and opportunities of the Spanish Distance Education University.

Finally, the need for more consolidated collaborations between businesses and schools or universities was reiterated.

Speakers during the 2nd part:

3rd and last part of the round table

For the last part of the roundtable, a cross-functional entity such as Campus des Métiers et Qualifications (CMQ) explained its role on ensuring a better consistency, attractiveness and visibility on training programs. CMQs are a link between the various actors of training, professionals and public authorities, with also an international vision.

Several European projects were presented and not only showed the actions undertaken but also their transnational impacts to respond to the training, innovation and cooperation challenges. The need for international recruitment for this sector was also highlighted. Finally, the concept of “Microcredentials” was presented, with the purpose of their recognition of specific skills acquired during short apprenticeships. The round table concluded evoking the subjects of diversity and gender balance as an opportunity for the of specific attractiveness and development of the microelectronics sector.

Speakers during the 3rd part:

  • Michel Burel / Project manager / CMQ - Campus des Métiers et Qualifications Grenoble
  • Christopher Frieling / Director of Advocacy and Public Policy / METIS European project
  • Nadia Gonthier / Responsable du Département Relations internationales chez GIP FIPAG / GreenTech european project
  • Slavka Tzanova / Senior Lecturer / ECOVEM  european project
  • Manuela Costone / Lawyer, Senior Project Manager / CIMEA (Italy)
  • Eva Fabry / Director at European Centre for Women and Technology (ECWT) / ECWT (Norway)

Links to access speakers’ presentations

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The debate which took place made it possible to spotlight the importance of stakeholder mobilization and cooperation for structural reforms in the microelectronics sector, which is growing rapidly. Further investment from public authorities has been noted as a sine quan non condition for the attractiveness of this sector. Next steps to undertake are reaching the decision-makers who could mobilize financial means and deepening cooperation between industry, private companies, training organizations and public authorities.

More information on ECOVEM project:

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