The mechatronic training strategies to enable new skills for industry realignment towards industry 4.0: the case of Portugal

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Detroit (2022)


industry 4.0, Mechatronic, new skills, Portugal


The managerial strategies towards Industry 4.0 were coupled with the emergent normativity on incentive policies to enable automation improvements and industry realignment for new automotive value chains. In other words, the national framework to support company incentives for the concept of Industry 4.0 initiatives has pushed automotive industry managers to establish strategies of new investment on automation and repositioning in the global value chain.
Similarly, the scarcity of available qualifications for Industry 4.0, makes the share of "high road" jobs stable. The qualification process in the automotive industry has increased in parallel with the investment on automation.
An important contribution to this increase on job skills is significantly based on existing vocational training policies, which enable the incoming of higher skilled young job seekers, and a lifelong training and requalification of workers in the automotive sector. We have studied the training offer on “mechatronics” for the automotive sector, including both the manufacturing and repair activities. Data indicates a trend of increase of demand for mechatronic trained technicians with higher skills and preparedness for tasks related to automation, programming, maintenance and production control.
How about compensation? short- and long-term job stability? The young professionals that are seeking for a job in an OEM of the automotive sector, or even in a component provider in this sector, have higher probability and expectations of have better wage income and longer-term job stability due to his specialized skills. We have confirmed these results in our preliminary interviews with vocational training centres and company managers.
The managerial jobs are still privileged in the process realignment of industry, even in those case where the electrification technology tends to replace the ICE one. However, these cases are very limited in Portugal. Only Caetanobus and Mitsubishi-Daimler Fuso are producing electrical vehicles. The other OEMs are in a slower process of technological modernization. The choices over the application of principles of Industry 4.0 concept in their premises implied the recruitment of more jobs with the qualification on mechatronics, and managerial jobs to coordinate and control this technological transformation. In this sense, results do not support the conclusion that these managerial jobs are being eroded.
In parallel, there is an evolution of skills for specialized work clusters (automation, robotics, engine electrification). In our research we verified that the mechatronic trained young professionals are occupying jobs related to automation and robotics. But the skills related to the propulsion technologies based on electrification have a different requirement. Although, mechatronics is mostly related to Industry 4.0 strategy, it is expected that the energy transition will induce changes in the training contents of mechatronic. Some interviews also confirmed this trend. Thus, we can expect the emergence of two work clusters around a) Industry 4.0 competences and b) powertrain electrification.


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