Sector skills strategy in additive manufacturing [SAM]

SAM tackles the current European need of developing an effective system to identify and anticipate the right skills for Additive Manufacturing, thus contributing to the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of the AM sector. SAM is developing a European Observatory in AM, identifying and anticipating the right skills and delivering them to the industry/companies through a solid network of European Training Centres. SAM addresses the AM sector at European, national and regional levels, engaging with key industry stakeholders and cover the entire value chain in Europe.


01.01.2019 to 30.06.2023


Additive manufacturing (Covered by NACE rev.2 by: C- Manufacturing and Subsectors: C22- Manufacture of rubber and plastic products/ C23 -Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products /24 Manufacture of basic metals/ C25- Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment / C28- Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c. /C29 - Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers)

Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom
Scope of the project

SAM is expected to have a positive impact on the maintenance and growth of the Additive Manufacturing Sector at regional, national, European and international levels, namely:

  • better anticipate the current and future additive manufacturing skills needs at manufacturing workplaces in Europe;
  • support the International AM Qualification System (IAMQS) with data;
  • develop a European harmonised qualification system with appropriate professional profiles;
  • attract skilled people to AM industry sector, by changing negative perceptions particularly of youngsters in regard to pursuing a career in manufacturing
  • raise awareness for opportunities in the Additive Manufacturing labour market;
  • support and promote cooperation between organisations dealing with Additive Manufacturing;
  • allow, through the International AM Qualification System (IAMQS), mobility of trainers, trainees, job seekers and employees.

Develop a Skills Strategy in Additive Manufacturing providing solutions capable to foster and support the growth, innovation and competitiveness of the AM sector by implementing:

  • A methodology for a sustainable and continuous assessment of current and future skills needs in AM through the Observatory in Additive Manufacturing, providing timely mapping and monitoring of the AM industry technological trends, skills shortages and mismatches, policies and figures;
  • Design, review and deploy relevant qualifications in the AM sector, built with a learning outcomes approach and linked with EU Frameworks and Tools such as the EQF, e-CF, EntreComp, ECVET and ECTS;
  • Increase the attractiveness of the AM sector as a career choice for primary, general education, VET and university students through awareness campaigns in the field of AM; and
  • An online Qualifications catalogue to continuously update and enlarge the International AM Qualification System (IAMQS), integrating all the developed and to be developed sectoral qualifications.
Short description

SAM’s innovative features are linked to its Sector Skills Strategy, which has been developed under the partnership of industrial, education and training and research representatives:

  • Development and engagement with stakeholders (such as European organisations and education providers) covering the whole sector, relevant technologies and the entire value-chain;
  • Skills forecast methodology for assessment of current and future needs (set of kits with tools to be used);
  • Methodology to design and revise professional profiles and developing skills, enabling upskilling/reskilling of professionals;
  • Live Observatory in AM to collect, validate, monitor data and collect feedback;
  • Tools to track students (graduate tracking), job seekers and trainees to understand their needs;
  • Pilot of activities to address a range of different timeframes (1, 3 and 10 years), skill mismatches supported by scenarios provided by industry and research centres;
  • Design competence units training modules and tools for professional profiles/qualifications and delivery of the trainings;
  • Engagement with target groups linked to the Awareness campaign, AM workforce, primary school pupils, vocational education and training and higher education students.

Read more on the project website: https://www.skills4am.eu

Key findings

Strategy: SAM Skills Roadmap outlined the complex challenges the AM sector is currently facing, in the form of “gap drivers” between what the industry needs in terms of educational/training offer and what is currently available, thus placing forward key strategic initiatives and concrete activities to address each of the main seven strategic objectives.

SAM Stratigic objectives

Additive Manufacturing skills gaps and demand and technological trends: SAM methodological approach to identify and anticipate AM skill needs is framed by three forecast scenarios defined in terms of: real case (skills to be addressed in less than one year), short term (skills to be addressed in less than three years) and foresight (skills to be addressed in the next 10 years). For each scenario several rounds of surveys and interviews took place among key target groups, such as AM companies/employers, workers, training centres, research centres, and recruitment agencies. The main skills gaps and demands per scenario and target group can be found in the AM Market Word section of the AM Observatory.

Upskilling and reskilling for existing skill profiles: In the short-term scenario, SAM identified that reskilling will be required for R&D staff, as well as process and quality managers. Moreover, the foresight results have pointed to the need of reskilling workers (such as welding inspectors, coordinators, operators, and designers) to move from "conventional" manufacturing processes to AM technology and more robust simulation techniques in the next 10 years.

Emerging skills and occupations: SAM has identified the need for a new occupation, the Designer for Polymers. New technical and transversal skills will be necessary for metal binder jetting process levels and knowledge on sustainability focused on circular economy and life cycle assessment.

Developed training curricula and modules: In order to keep updating the IAMQS, SAM has developed 12 competence units corresponding to a specific curricula, as follows: certification, qualification & standardisation in Additive Manufacturing; business for Additive Manufacturing; Overview on polymer materials and properties; designing polymers parts; post processing for polymers; design for material extrusion; design for PBF polymer; design for Vat photopolymerisation; design for material jetting at independent level; metal binder jetting process at advanced level; metal binder jetting process; sustainability for Additive Manufacturing.