The central focus of the People and Skills Specification (PSS) is to create a shared understanding of the experience, skills, and knowledge that is needed to make things. The PSS provides a framework for creating an individual record of experiences, skills, and relevant training and certificates that makers can use to showcase accomplishments and relevant knowledge to potential employers, peers, and collaborators across global networks.
When it comes to producing physical goods in makerspaces, fab labs, and other manufacturing facilities, the right materials, machinery, and spaces to support production are all needed to get the job done. There are many ways to ensure that the physical resources are available for producing items; looking to resources such as the IOPA’s growing World Map of Manufacturing to see if certain facilities and machinery are available nearby, or looking to local inventories for a listing of tools and materials addresses the physical components of how something gets made - but what about the skills and knowledge needed? Sometimes it can be difficult to find the expert needed to manage the production process, especially for complex production or products that are in a testing phase or are not produced regularly in a facility. With the People and Skills Specification (PSS) there is now assurance that the experienced makers to support production can be located and matched with the right project at the right time.
The People and Skills Specification is intentionally designed to provide a standard framework for sharing maker skills and experiences with potential employers, fellow makers, and educational institutions via the Open Badge System Framework; this specification can also be used as a stand-alone, should an open badging system not be an option.
In addition to providing a record of personal maker skills, experiences, and accomplishments, this information can also be used as part of developing a maker passport system; a use case for this is currently under development as part of the European Commission’s mAkE project.
The People and Skills Specification provides a framework where there are options for the authentication of an experienced maker, based on individual or organizational need.
The identity of digital passport holders can be established via organizational affiliations, or preexisting verification processes (OpenID, OAuth2, etc.).
Production spaces and projects have varying skills and credentials required, based on what machinery, materials, or chemicals are needed. With this specification, an individual maker can communicate their experiences by category, and an organization can match experiences and skills with what is needed.
Organizations that choose to adopt this specification and use it can provide individuals with the opportunity to showcase their skills and be recognized in a global movement as qualified experts, based on their individualized skills. Businesses and communities benefit from being empowered to attract the necessary expertise to solve problems locally, and individual makers who become a part of a
'Maker Passport' that the PSS supports will have a way to communicate experience and skills levels automatically for ease of navigation through a global ecosystem.