Free Online Courses – Manufacturing

The industry in the developed world is already at a critical point where it is facing a shortage of personnel in the area of manufacturing. With the increase in the population of those who will continue to retire, the industry is expected to face a crisis as soon as 2030.

Even countries such as China and Brazil are projected to encounter similar difficulties between 2030 and 2040. The only country with a surplus of educated workforce working in manufacturing is India.

To think about it, there are in excess of 70,000 people who reach retirement in the developed world each day. What percentage of these are from the manufacturing sector is not known but is significant. It’s anybody’s guess how many of those who retire will be replaced by Generation Z and millennials.

Young Mechanic
Young Mechanic

For the moment, roughly 80% of companies lament the shortage of a skilled workforce in the manufacturing sector and millions of positions go unfilled. There remains the stereotyped and a cliched impression of the manufacturing sector being dark, dirty and inhospitable. The truth is far from it.

Apart from a good working environment, employers now offer pay packages and benefits that are much more competitive than they were even as recently as 10 years back. Compared to most other areas, those in the manufacturing sector tend to earn between 25 to 35 percent more depending upon the country. This wage gap is expected to continue to increase.


Manufacturing the World

Broadly speaking, manufacturing involves design, planning, purchasing, scheduling, production, production process to reach the physical form of the product. The major fields of competence that the industry looks for are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as the robotics and the machines get more and more sophisticated with time.

While China leads in manufacturing, many of the other nations are not far behind on manufacturing as percentage of national output. The numbers speak for themselves:

China                           27%

United States               12%

Japan                          19%

Germany                     23%


Manufacturing itself covers a vast range of industries including aerospace, food, machines, pharmaceuticals, bakery and you name it.

Production of pralines in a factory
Production of pralines in a factory

Specialists that the industry looks for are many, among others it is sales, business development, marketing, product design, research and development, human resources to name a few.

Universities and other educational institutions have increased their focus towards providing the right education so that individuals can enter manufacturing which is considered to be one of the most stable fields for developing your career.

Let’s have a look at some of the free online courses to take you into manufacturing:


Manufacturing Systems I

The course has been developed by none other than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This course lasting eight weeks will require that you put in an effort of 10 to 12 hours each week.

Among the areas covered are how to analyse manufacturing systems to optimise performance and control costs, random disruptive events their effects and how to deal with them, inventory dynamics and management.


Manufacturing Systems II

Also from MIT the course takes you through complex decision making skills, methods to optimise performance, processes and functions involved in the building and maintenance of the systems.


Digital Manufacturing and Design Technology Specialisation

This course is from the State University of New York and the University at Buffalo. The course provides you with how the very foundations of digital advances are changing and the capabilities of factories. There is also a video to make things easier.


Supply Chain Management Specialisation

The course is offered by the Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and takes you through operations, planning, sourcing, transportation, warehousing, inventory control and logistics network design, among other areas.


Material Science – 10 Things Every Engineer Should Know

The course comes to you from the University of California. Among the areas covered will be important aspects of materials used in modern engineering applications and explanation of the underlying principle of materials science.


Material Processing

The course is from Georgia Tech. The course teaches you how the properties of materials are determined by the microstructure of the material, the composition and the processing of materials.


Supply Chain Principles

Also from Georgia Tech the course gives you the introduction to supply chain, process, technology and also industry specific supply chain. This course shall require an effort of about 13 hours.


Industrial Biotechnology

Biotechnology is fast changing many of the manufacturing processes by introducing living organisms or parts of living organisms to be able to develop and create products. This course from the University of Manchester teaches about biotechnology research including enzyme discovery and engineering, synthetic biotechnology, biochemical process and engineering. It also includes bioethics.


Introduction to Digital Manufacturing With Autodesk Fusion 360

The course is offered by Autodesk. This teaches about the methods to customise production through the advances in machine learning, sustainable design, generative design, integrated design and manufacturing processes, innovations in CAD, the functional aspects of CAD/CAM related to industrial design, mechanical engineering and machine tool programming.


Advanced Functional Ceramics

From Yonsei University of South Korea this course is in English. The course takes you through the understanding of the next generation devices, novel ceramic materials, the physical and chemical composition and more.


Introduction to Operations Management

This course is from the Wharton, University of Pennsylvania. The course teaches you to analyse and improve business processes in services or in manufacturing by learning how to increase productivity and deliver higher quality standards. Key concepts include process analysis, bottlenecks, flows rates, and inventory levels, and more.

Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney

Check out some more free courses here:

Free Online Courses – Human Resources Manager

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