The case for training: Hands-on learning drives business goals

May 22, 2023
As an industry, we’re facing hiring challenges, factoring in the added complication of the depth of expertise required in photonics.

Although labor data suggests that we have maneuvered our way through the “Great Resignation,” quiet quitting and other employee disengagement trends continue to bear down on bottom lines. Businesses today are seeking new ways to recruit, retain, and reinvigorate their employee base, with an eye toward shoring up skillsets that align with both today’s demand and tomorrow’s needs.

The shifting labor market

But meeting current requirements is a daunting task for businesses, especially in a highly skilled industry like photonics, because the landscape is shifting so rapidly. Even the most qualified of teams will need to invest in ongoing education to ensure their knowledge keeps pace with the rapid rate of new discovery. In fact, a report from the World Economic Forum concluded that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025.

In a market on the verge of recession, balancing revenue and employee development is no easy feat, but when replacing that employee has the potential to cost two times their annual salary, retention surges to become the most attractive option.

Fortunately, in today’s environment, one key tactic provides a cost-effective method of supporting employees: training. For example, 61% of employees indicate the opportunity to participate in an “upskilling” program is extremely or very important when weighing the decision to remain at their current job.

The business case for training

It’s not just about the influence on employees; training has a positive effect on businesses as well. Organizations who have launched skill transformation efforts, between 71 and 90%, say these efforts had a positive impact on four company outcomes: the ability to realize company strategy, employees’ performance and satisfaction, and reputation as an employer. In addition, business leaders point to anticipated returns. An average of 66% of employers expect to generate return on investment in upskilling and reskilling within one year.

A photonics industry response

But a business case alone doesn’t a solution make. As an industry, we’re facing hiring challenges, factoring in the added complication of the depth of expertise required in photonics. Businesses in our industry are looking for training that speaks to direct, individualized, and hands-on needs delivered in novel formats and accessible programs. In fact, during the last few months, Optica has been seeking input from our corporate members about how we can provide more support as an industry association and, overwhelmingly, technical training for staff and customers rose to a top request.

To respond to this need, at Laser Munich we will be hosting six world-class industry training courses, at the LASER World of PHOTONICS Exhibition. These two-hour, hands-on trainings will cover essential topics delivered by experts in their field, including:

1. Nonlinear microscopy using fs-lasers, Tuesday, June 27, at 9 a.m., John Harvey, Southern Photonics

2. Beam shaping in laser beam welding: Strategies and potentials for process optimization, Tuesday, June 27 at 1 p.m., Christian Hagenlocher, University of Stuttgart

3. Photonic Packaging: What you need to know from design to manufacturing, Wednesday, June 28 at 1 p.m., Peter O'Brien, Tyndall National Institute

4. Laser Beam Shaping, Thursday, June 29 at 9 a.m., Ulrike Fuchs, Asphericon

5. Laser Process Monitoring, Thursday, June 29 at 1 p.m., Markus Kogel-Hollacher, Precitec

6. How to Choose the Right Laser for Your Industry: A Practical Guide, Friday, June 30 at 9am, Antonio Raspa, Luxinar

As an industry association, we understand that providing technical training is crucial for the competitive growth and development of our corporate members, as well as their customers. The knowledge gained from these courses can help you improve production efficiency, reduce manufacturing costs, and stay ahead of the competition.

And for the inevitable times when you do need to draw in new talent, provides top candidates for your business. We work hard to feature professionals with the skills that meet industry needs, and with more than 600 resumes available, businesses can proactively target professionals with the right mix of expertise.

Because we undoubtedly will be faced with hiring and training challenges as scientific innovation continues to flourish and the landscape bursts with new technical opportunities for highly qualified photonics scientists and engineers. Training employees now on what’s next will provide the expertise you need to continue to grow and thrive in the years ahead.

For more information on these programs and how to join or send your staff or customers, visit the Optica Corporate Member website. To identify new talent, visit

About the Author

Jose Pozo | Chief Technology Officer, Optica

Jose Pozo joined Optica in March 2022, and has spent more than 25 years working in photonics. He earned a PhD in quantum physics from the University of Bristol (U.K.), and an M.Sc. and B.Eng. in telecom engineering from UPNA, Spain / VUB (Belgium). Prior to joining the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) in 2015 as CTO, Jose was a Senior Photonics Technology Consultant with PNO Consultants, with some of the main accounts such as CERN, Thales, and TE Connectivity. He has worked at TNO, The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, and as a postdoctoral researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, where he contributed to the early development of EFFECT Photonics.

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