A special event has taken place marking the rebranding of a network tasked with enhancing the profile of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering throughout the North West region.
The North West Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Collaborative Growth Network has recently rebranded as GEMX – Generating Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence. The network is supported by Invest Northern Ireland through its Collaborative Growth Programme.
NuPrint Technologies is the lead partner of the group, supported by local companies AE Global, PPSL and Fleming Agri.
The overall purpose of the network is to enable a group of manufacturing and engineering companies to work together to exploit opportunities and enhance their competitive edge.
Speaking after the event Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Graham Warke, said the network had a vital role in promoting the sector.
“The GEMX network will bring together a wealth of knowledge and experience to identify opportunities to promote and develop the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering industry locally. We want to build the profile of the region as a vibrant and exciting place to live and work with attractive learning and career opportunities available for people who choose to locate here.”
At the event this week, representatives from industry and education heard from key players in the sector including Rose Mary Stalker, Invest NI Chair, and Stephen Kelly from Manufacturing NI, whilst being given the opportunity to shape the future and focus of GEMX.
Chair of GEMX, Paul Kirkpatrick from DuPont said: “We welcome the support and involvement from additional manufacturing and engineering organisations along with interested stakeholders.
There is a real opportunity for the North West to become a centre of excellence for the sector and we encourage activity to enable this.”
Gavin Killeen from NuPrint Technologies said: “This is an extremely interesting and challenging area of employment with a vast range of opportunities.
“We have employers in our network from areas such as agriculture, chemicals, printing, food, electronics and clothing.
“Employment entry levels are varied so interested students can progress their education in a flexible way, with vocational routes on the apprenticeship ladder now being available from Level 2 upwards.
“Education can continue alongside work if that is how a person prefers to progress within their career.”
Niall Casey, Invest NI’s Director of Skills & Competitiveness, said: “The support we have provided to GEMX through the Collaborative Growth Programme will enable the network members to collectively tackle the immediate and longer term skills requirements faced by the businesses as they continue to transform and embrace digital technologies. GEMX will be best placed to collectively leverage industry, academia and government support to deliver an action plan that will enable businesses to remain competitive in an ever-changing environment.”
GEMX Project Director, Joanne Sweeney, said: “The network aims to bring together key individuals from a range of organisations to raise awareness of manufacturing and engineering within the North West, whilst developing a pipeline of talent and encouraging collaboration between industry and education.
“Engineers solve problems and hopefully this will be the key to the success of GEMX. We need to actively promote all routes within education and accept that we all learn in different ways.
“An effective workforce must be made up of a variety of people with a range of skills if economic needs are to be met.
“We need to harness the abilities of educational establishments and ensure that they are being fully utilised by local industry.
“Through the elimination of stereotypes, we can develop an engineering pathway to inspire children and young adults and encourage them to pursue careers in an exciting, dynamic environment which is future-proof.”
Invest NI’s Collaborative Growth Programme is aimed at SME-led networks, and provides support for groups to pursue innovative collaborative projects with the potential to increase business competitiveness.
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