The world of fabrication has changed dramatically since the days of old. Technology and more approachable software systems are part of it, but what’s truly moving things forward is the method of training.
While traditional journeyman programs and on-the-job training are still around, those methods of education have often become what unpaid internships are to the white-collar workplace. Some of the challenges that companies have experienced hiring qualified candidates can also be attributed to this.
Vocational and tech schools have grown and helped to change the landscape, but the growing popularity of community makerspaces are helping as well.
Makerspaces are intended to provide access to expensive or complicated tools and software – like CNC machines or 3D printers – for those who can’t afford or don’t have the space for such equipment. As more of these spaces have popped up, they began to compete with each other, precipitating a need for added value. So, the spaces started to expand to beginners and provide classes and on-site knowhow.
For obvious reasons, this has driven a need for makerspaces to train their employees and/or members in an array of fabrication techniques, often even paying for members to be professionally trained at a tech college (sound familiar?).
This is ushering in a new era of training and journeyman-style education.
This new style of training is also set apart because it almost forces a diversified experience. Makerspaces are full of several different kinds of equipment, which can often be in various states of disarray. Working with fabrication machinery in these sorts of conditions can be incredibly frustrating in a workplace environment (where time is money), but in a makerspace, these circumstances provide a prime learning atmosphere.
While the education provided in a makerspace might (for now) be informal, it is truly a hands-on experience which requires both trades knowledge and refined problem solving skills on various fronts. Education in a makerspace is still a growing trend, but it is most certainly growing fast.