Donegal ETB’s Letterkenny Training Centre hosted the Donegal launch of The Skills Needs of Manufacturing in the North West 2019 on Friday last. The report was coordinated by the North West Regional Skills Forum (NWRSF) in collaboration with Fasttrack to IT (FIT).
The in-depth skills audit with local manufacturing employers was carried out to determine their current and future requirements in relation to recruitment, education and skills, in order to maximize manufacturing employment opportunities in the North West region over the coming years.
Twenty-six employers, employing 3,137 people in the region, contributed to the report which will be used by local education and training providers to further inform them about new programme development and changes to existing programmes.
The event highlighted some of the findings from the report, which can be found at https://www.regionalskills.ie/regions/northwest/news/the-skills-needs-of-manufacturing-in-the-north-west-2019.pdf and provided an opportunity for employers to learn more about how Donegal ETB and LYIT can support them with training, education, funding, recruitment, research and much more.
Manufacturing plays a critical role in the economy as a driver of exports, as an employer, as a source of revenue and as a key driver of growth. The manufacturing sector also has significant spin-off effects to other sectors including services, logistics, mining/quarrying, agriculture and sub-supply.
The report also highlights the many services available to manufacturing employers in the region from Donegal ETB, MSL ETB, Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT), IT Sligo and St. Angela’s College, Sligo.
The report was officially launched by LYIT President Paul Hannigan and Donegal ETB Chief Executive, Anne McHugh, who noted that, “This report tells us what employers want – there’s no point in us in the ETB or LYIT providing courses that aren’t going to be relevant and suitable for people to eventually progress onto work. It’s great to have the chance for you, manufacturing employers, to input with ourselves into the kind of training you want us to provide.”
In outlining what the manufacturing sector looks like in Ireland, Dr. Oran Doherty, North West Regional Skills Forum Manager noted that, “Manufacturing in Ireland has undergone significant changes in the last ten years. Employers in our region are increasingly focusing on high-tech manufacturing due to shifting global demand for goods and increasing competition from countries which have competitive advantages due to cheaper labour”.
Collectively, the findings point to a rich diversity in manufacturing operations within the North West with a different range of operations matching themselves to equally different types of location. Many of the world’s largest multinational MedTech companies have facilities in the North West, some with more than one facility. There are also indigenous Irish MedTech manufacturers and innovators in the North West. In addition, there are a large number of local companies providing specialist support services across Ireland to both multinational corporations and indigenous organisations.
Cróna Gallagher, Donegal ETB’s Director of Further Education and Training (FET) and Dennis McFadden, Head of School, Department of Electronic and Mechanical at LYIT both outlined the range of education, training and research provision both organisations can make available to employers in the county.
The North West Regional Skills Forum is one of nine Regional Skills Fora, which were established by Government as part of its National Skills Strategy to provide an opportunity for employers and the education and training system to work together to meet the emerging skills needs within the region. The region’s Education and Training Boards (Donegal ETB and Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB) and Higher Education Institutions (Letterkenny Institute of Technology, IT Sligo and St. Angela’s College) along with numerous employers and employer representative bodies are represented on the forum.