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"Training represents an important opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees"

Interview to Maria Tataru, member of ARCTIC and member of the FIT4FoF project.

Maria Tataru works is the Human Resources Director of ARCTIC (Romania) and also partner of the FIT4FoF. Here she replied some questions about her organization and the project.

What is the reason to participate in the FIT4FoF project?

In the business context of the factories of the future, the project FIT4FoF is an inspirational and successful project for our organization. At the same time, we consider it an extremely useful interactive learning opportunity for the team members. In the current dynamics of the labour market, but also in the context of our organisation, this project is in line with our business priorities.

What do you think is the most interesting aspect of the FIT4FoF?

The result of the project is measurable and impactful in specific business objectives, such as productivity, quality of our products, but also aspects related to workplace ergonomics, comfort and performance of our people. We are glad that, together with the partners in the consortium, we will be able to ensure the qualification of the staff for the factory of the future.

How do ARCTIC, as a big company, promote training and the development of new skills in their workers? 

Training represents an important opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees. According to the training program, the training budget is established every year. It is based on the training needs discovered for each employee and can be found in a training catalogue that we share with all our employees.

Arctic, an employer with over 4,000 people in the two factories in Dâmbovița (Găești and Ulmi), initiated in 2018 a complex project, consisting in two modules, with the purpose to  improve employee interaction with the state-of-the-art equipment used in the production process. For the first module, the company invested in a system of efficient association of human-equipment interactions, which is based on artificial intelligence and data modeling, ergonomic elements, technical skills and software (Smart Matching Human - SMH). And for the second one, the company aims to develop its own personal skills by creating and testing a customized set of skills. For this approach, the company applied for - "FIT4FoF" (Fit for Factory of the Future).

How has the preparation of the pilot been developed so far and what are the first results obtained bythe workers?

In October, Arctic launched the pilot project called Making our Workforce Fit for the Factory of the Future at Ulmi Washing Machine factory.

Arctic’s objective in the EU funded project is to consolidate common subjects which will help to develop and upgrade the necessary skills and abilities for the factories of the future. A meeting with the operators from the Production Line was part of the event, all of them participating at the pilot training. During the meeting, we discussed about the purpose of the project, the main objective and in the same time the results we expect after the implementation will take place. 

We are excited by the positive reactions of the participants during the event and we are continuing to prepare the implementation next steps: skill gap survey and the pilot Co-design.

How has COVID affected the industry in Romania and specifically ARCTIC?

Almost one in five companies in Romania was forced to either reduce or stop their activity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At the same time, ten percent of companies that still ran their business could not pay their employees.

Arctic has managed to overcome well so far, the Covid19 challenge. We had to implement drastic prevention and H&S measures and remote work where was possible, but the activity continued throughout this period.

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