Industry leaders launch cluster to promote engineering in South East

Engineering
Martin Stapleton CDS Architectural Metalwork, Lily Holmes, Burnside Group, Michael Carbery, new chair of ‘Engineering the South East’ & Keenan Alltech, Edmond Connolly South East Regional Skills Forum, Carrie Rockett, Integer,  Liam Hore, Waters Technologies

Martin Stapleton CDS Architectural Metalwork, Lily Holmes, Burnside Group, Michael Carbery, new chair of ‘Engineering the South East’ & Keenan Alltech, Edmond Connolly South East Regional Skills Forum, Carrie Rockett, Integer, Liam Hore, Waters Technologies

The cluster has the backing of IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Engineers Ireland and will work with education providers in the region including WIT

Some of the biggest names in industry across the south east have come together to form a cluster group to promote and advance engineering in the region.

Engineering the South East was launched in Wexford with a mission to see companies working together to address skills needs, promote careers in engineering and advance the engineering capabilities of the region. 

The Burnside Group, Glanbia, Boston Scientific, Integer, Bausch & Lomb and CDS Architectural Metalwork are some of the indigenous and multinational engineering and manufacturing companies across the South East that have signed up to Engineering the South East. The new group intends to promote careers in engineering, a sector that currently employs almost 50,000 in the region, of which 35,000 are employed in manufacturing and 14,000 in construction. The group said it will address skills gaps by working closely with local education and training providers.

Education collaboration

Engineering South East has the backing of IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Engineers Ireland and will work collaboratively with Waterford Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Carlow, the regional Education and Training Boards (WWETB, Kilkenny Carlow ETB and Tipperary ETB) and the various Skillnet Networks.

A steering group of industry representatives will oversee the strategic direction and work of Engineering the South East with a focus on three main areas: skills; promotion and communications and innovation. Separate working groups will be established to identify a number of key action areas and companies are being encouraged to participate in relevant working groups.

Speaking at the launch Brendan McDonald, South East Regional Development Manager, IDA said, “This is a proactive and very worthwhile initiative to promote engineering in the South East region. Engineers play an important role in many sectors in addition to engineering operations - Medical Devices, Pharma and Bio-Pharma for example. Collaboration between companies who have engineering functions in the South East with a focus on skills, promotion and innovation will ensure they continue to develop, grow and transform. I wish those spearheading Engineering the South East every success and offer my continued support.”

WIT involvement

Waterford Institute of Technology is at the heart of the Engineering the South East initiative, says Dr Ken Thomas, Head of the School of Engineering at WIT. "We are delighted to be actively involved. It fits perfectly with our culture of working closely with industry to make a better world, and in this case an even more successful region. Our graduates are highly valued and the demand for WIT Engineering talent in the South-East far outstrips our current supply. We also are increasingly helping companies in the region with their upskilling and innovation requirements so that they can keep ahead of global competition. 

The School of Engineering has a wide variety of Engineering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including Electrical, Electronic, Mechanical, Manufacturing, Energy and Civil. The new Common Entry BEng [Honours] degree is proving to be very attractive to leaving certificate students. WIT has also just received approval to run a new Automation Engineering degree and this is very much about the jobs of the future and fully aligned to the ambition of Engineering the South East.

High skilled jobs

Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager, Enterprise Ireland stated: "A key focus for Enterprise Ireland is to support companies to build scale and expand their reach internationally. The Engineering the South East initiative launched today aims to support regionally based companies, from established businesses to start-ups within the sector to grow placing a strategic focus on developing skills, communications and innovation with a view to growing their export potential. Today’s announcement is a hugely positive development for this high growth sector and aims to support high skilled jobs in the South East region in the long term.”

Michael Carbery, Head of Innovation & Development Programmes with Keenan (Alltech Farming Solutions Ltd) has been appointed Chair of Engineering the South East. He commented, “It is great to be involved with this industry led initiative. This initiative has great potential to encourage, engage and support young people in pursuing their career within the engineering industry”.

Edmond Connolly, Manager, Regional Skills South East Forum said Engineering the South East will support and promote equality, diversity and inclusivity in engineering. Membership, which is free, is open to all engineering disciplines, including operators, technicians, engineers and apprentices.

In pictures: Engineering the South East launch

Related Courses

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in  Engineering (Common Entry)

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