Boosting Medtech, Manufacturing Engineers and Finance Talent in the West Region - Skillnet Ireland

Boosting Medtech, Manufacturing Engineers and Finance Talent in the West Region

Mar 3rd, 2020

L-R: Tracey Donnery, Skillnet Ireland; Christy O’Hara, Headhunt International; Margaret Cox, ICE Group; Carl Blake, Galway Executive Skillnet; Faith Fahy, Financial Consultant; Ruairi Guckian, GHR Consulting and Linda Ford, Sallisford Coaching.


A new report by Galway Executive Skillnet examines the opportunities within the Medtech, Manufacturing Engineers and Finance sectors to drive Jobs Growth in the West Region and recommends innovative solutions to addressing the challenges facing people who wish to re-enter the workforce in the West Region.

The research study was carried out under Skillnet Ireland’s Future Skills Programme. This Galway Executive Skillnet report ‘Boosting Medtech, Manufacturing Engineers and Finance talent to drive Jobs Growth in the West Region’, launched at an event at The Galmont Hotel in Galway yesterday evening, is the first of seven research projects to be launched by Skillnet Ireland in 2020.

At the launch, Margaret Cox, Promoter of Galway Executive Skillnet, and Director of Ice Group said: “Employment in the West Region has grown to a record high of 213,400 in 2019 – a 22% increase since 2012. This highlights the need to increase labour force participation by boosting the supply of talent. This research provides a helpful overview into the type of issues employers in the West Region are facing when trying to engage with people who are returning to work, as well as the key barriers identified by returners themselves.”

Key findings and recommendations of the report suggest:

  • Several factors have contributed to skills gaps in the West Region including strong business and employment growth, a tightening labour market, the ongoing drive to improve productivity and rapidly changing skills, knowledge and competency profiles.
  • Businesses need to strengthen their talent attraction and retention practices by investing in reskilling/upskilling to meet technological and market demands.
  • Businesses should draw from a pool of well qualified women returners to help address skills gaps, however, workplace and culture may need to evolve to attract this talent.
  • There is scope for greater engagement between enterprise and education and training providers to ensure the ongoing quality of graduates.
  • Skilled workers are mobile and many factors affect where they choose to work including quality of life, flexible working arrangements and career prospects.

At the launch Tracey Donnery, Executive Director at Skillnet Ireland outlined how Skillnet Ireland is committed to regional development and ensuring that businesses all around the country have access to skilled talent that is needed to drive business success. “This research forms part of our Future Skills programme and will result in practical workforce development initiatives to address the emerging skills needs within Medtech, Manufacturing Engineering and Financial Services, and of the talented pool of returners in the West Region. Our aim is to enhance Ireland’s competitiveness and productivity in partnership with businesses through innovative workforce development.”

Gordon Crowley, BTG Novate Medical, a member company of Galway Executive Skillnet indicates why this research is of great value to businesses “While the success of business in the West Region is hugely positive, it has meant challenges in the attraction and retention of talent. This research and the support of Skillnet Ireland is essential for businesses such as ours to have access to a wider labour force. Our continued growth is dependent on having the right people in all roles. This report offers practical solutions to reduce the barriers to potential employees returning to work.”

Margaret Cox, also added “This research reinforces the importance of supporting professionals who are returning or re-entering the workforce, particularly female returners. Putting adequate supports in place benefits both employers and employees in the long run. A real change in mindset and practices needs to happen. By driving that change, the West Region plan to lead the way in terms of addressing talent shortages, supporting women and families, and building a sustainable economy and employment market in the West Region.”

The research was conducted by Gerard Walker, Senior Economist (Future Jobs-Skills-Work Insights), and Ananda Geluk, Career Counsellor/Researcher. A Project Advisory Board was comprised of representatives from local industry, enterprise support agencies and academic institutions.

Attendees at the launch event included representatives from local businesses and industry, other government agencies and representatives from academic institutions

The full report can be accessed here.

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