"Developing our staff is critical to the future success of our company. Working with our Skillnet drives us on."
David McKernan, Plant Manager, Teleflex Medical OEM
The Challenge – Developing staff for specialist projects in the medical devices industry
Through the Irish MedTech Skillnet, member companies such as Teleflex can collaborate to develop benchmarking models of best practice, allowing them to better align their organisational direction to their customer needs.
Teleflex Medical OEM supports industry leaders in the design and development of medical devices. They specialise in catheter technology and access device innovation. An experienced team, vast capabilities, and advanced technologies can all be found under the same roof at Teleflex’s EPIC Medtec Center (Engineering, Prototyping, Innovation, Collaboration) in Limerick, where Teleflex helps to get medical devices to market faster as well as developing market-ready catheters or devices.
Plant Manager David McKernan explains why talent development issues are so pivotal for a medical technology company like Teleflex. He said: “We have 287 employees that provide complex extrusions and catheter-based solutions to the medical device industry. We specialise on projects that others find difficult to do, so developing and engaging our staff is critical for us to solve those problems that others are struggling with.”
On how the Irish Medtech Skillnet was able to help Teleflex to achieve and maintain people excellence in a STEM field as advanced as the medical devices industry, David said: “We’ve been involved with Irish Medtech Skillnet for around 15 years now. Key benefits we get from Irish Medtech is developing the skills of our staff and development to meet the needs that we have onsite.”
The Solution – Boosting industry collaboration and providing certified training opportunities
Irish Medtech Skillnet Network Promoter Sinead Keogh described how Skillnet Ireland delivers upskilling support to the medical device industry and the broader engineering sector: “The Irish Medtech Skillnet provides upskilling for the global medtech hub. It has over 150 members and has developed about 20 bespoke industry programmes. It primarily supports startups and the FDI community. Upskilling and talent development are at the core of what the medical technology industry does. If you talk to a lot of our members, I would say upskilling and training are probably number one in terms of their priorities.”
Through the Irish Medtech Skillnet, Teleflex was able to access a suite of workforce development initiatives that included employee training certified under a national framework. David McKernan witnessed the benefits of engaging with Skillnet Ireland first-hand: “It allowed us to plug into a network of companies and see the best practice across those. It’s also enabled us to get formal recognised certification for staff. We are able to put staff through a defined curriculum that’s part of a national framework that they were certified to, and it meant their training had some standing above and beyond just an internal training programme. So, it really helped engage the workforce to move the company forward.”
The Outcome – Enhancing people’s career development and strengthening the medical device industry in Ireland
The Irish Medtech Skillnet laid the foundation for companies across the engineering and medtech sectors to be able to work collaboratively around the goal of upskilling and providing access to greater medical tech training opportunities and certification courses.
Working with the Irish Medtech Skillnet, Teleflex’s David McKernan gained exposure to examples of best-in-class performance within Ireland and internationally: “Working in groups as part of Skillnet we were able to develop a benchmarking model of what was best practice and what does it look like. That’s enabled us to set our future in our direction, that’s aligned to what customers need, and aligned to what the organisation wants to get.”
The benefits of partnering with Skillnet Ireland are evident for the individual employee as well as for the company they work for and the sector in which they operate. David said that employees have: “got a real sense of ownership of their work area and through the formal certification they’ve got something, a sense… they’ve achieved something during the process. I really feel a sense of bonding and a sense of being part of a bigger organisation or a bigger culture almost that’s developing around enterprise excellence within Ireland.”