Permanent Secretary of Labour M.L. Puntrik Smiti chaired the signing of the MOU between the Department of Skills Development’s Director-General Mr. Teerapol Koonmuang and Vice President of the Federation of Thai Industries Mr. Thavorn Chalatthien (Photo credit: Ministry of Labour)
The Department of Skill Development under the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in Thailand signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federation of Thai Industries on May 29 to set up a Manufacturing Automation and Robotics Academy (MARA).
The initiative will focus on the development of robotics, mechanics, artificial intelligence and automation and ensure that these technologies play a larger role in the business and industrial sector. MARA will also help develop skilled workforce for major industries such as electronics, automobile parts, food, plastics, so that they can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and supporting government policy on economic growth.
The establishment of MARA is an outcome of the Cabinet’s approval for development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in four provinces, Chachoengsao, Samut Prakan, Chon Buri and Rayong, supporting the new engine of growth in 10 industries (The targeted industries in the Thailand 4.0 strategy include 5 existing sectors where advanced technologies can add value and 5 sectors which can serve as growth engines for the future). MARA centres will be formed in provincial skills development centers in all four of these provinces.
The plan will be implemented in 3 phases. During the first phase lasting 3 years, MARA will focus on adding working skills such as maintenance and programming to support businesses/factories in need of changing to automated technology and robotics. Vocational training will be imparted to develop the new workforce.
During the second phase, years 3 to 5, MARA will look at planning, designing and developing manufacturing processes using automation and robotics. The third phase, from the fifth to tenth year, will focus on the robotics industry, through implementing robotics and automation for major industries. Workforce development will continue to be a part of the plans and the trained workers will be expected to become coaches in sharing information and knowledge for the next generation of workers.