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Facilitator appointed to drive network within Engineering sector

02 December 2021
Local woman Joanne Sweeney has been appointed as Facilitator with the North West Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Network, a collaborative body tasked with supporting and developing the local Manufacturing and Engineering Sector.
The Network is supported by Invest Northern Ireland through its Collaborative Growth Programme. It brings together engineering and manufacturing businesses in and around Derry and Strabane, the Further and Higher Education Institutes (F&HEIs) in the region, and is facilitated by Derry City & Strabane District Council. Joanne will work closely with stakeholders to implement an action plan with a strong focus on skills, employability and the future growth and expansion of the industry.
With a background in both education and business, Joanne recognises the potential of the talent pool here, and hopes that by challenging perceptions and developing new pathways to careers in engineering, the North West will be identified as a region of excellence for manufacturing and engineering.
"The sector is a huge employer and we recognise the need to enhance skills and eliminate stereotypes here in the NW to deliver opportunities across all skills levels, including automation and new product development," she stresses. "Working with our partners in education we hope to ensure the curriculum reflects both the expectations of potential employers and the aspirations of anyone looking for an exciting and challenging career.
"Through the network I am confident that the strong partnerships already in place offer the infrastructure and support needed to help SMEs collaborate with other partners to develop their capacity and ultimately derive business benefits for those involved and the wider NI economy."
The Network is led by Nuprint Technologies Ltd, with membership from manufacturing and engineering companies across the North West.
Stakeholder organisations include Manufacturing NI; SEC; Catalyst Inc.; Derry City & Strabane District Council; INI; Sentinus; MATRIX, NWRC, Ulster University and Foyle Learning Community.
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.