Mid Ulster Business Briefing
MID ULSTER BUSINESS BRIEFING
‘Bridges are more useful than borders’ – building a solid foundation ahead of EU department key talking point at First Trust Bank Mid Ulster Business Briefing
Access to skills, growing NI’s advance manufacturing offering and talent retention were the hot topics discussed by local manufacturers and businesses from the Mid Ulster area at a special economic business breakfast hosted by First Trust Bank.
Over 100 local people gathered at the Gleanvon Hotel in Cookstown to hear the latest economic forecast from Gareth Hetherington from the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre followed by a Mid Ulster regional economic overview from his colleague Dr Eoin Magennis. Stephen Kelly, CEO at Manufacturing NI also shared insights from his membership base while Neil Bradley, Financial Director at Keylite Roof Windows joined the panel discussion to provide first-hand experience of overcoming issues currently facing the industry.
Speaking at the briefing, First Trust Bank’s Mid Ulster Business Centre Leader, Tommy Traynor said:
“While the manufacturing sector is responsible for spearheading much of Northern Ireland’s labour market growth since 2012, the industry is at something of a crossroads with technological disruption, skills challenges and access to talent changing the playing field for manufacturers. Against this backdrop, businesses are contending with various geopolitical uncertainties, many of which of course are Brexit related. With the contraction of sterling, importing is more expensive; a pinch being felt all the more by manufacturers who are also dealing with rising input costs. This too is adding impetus to local businesses to invest in new technology and processes to drive efficiency, innovation and automation to keep costs down long-term.
“Mid-Ulster’s strong manufacturing entrepreneurial base has made it more resilient than other areas to economic uncertainly, with the latest statistics reporting strong employment figures, wage growth and a high standard of living. Indeed, the Mid-Ulster manufacturing market accounts for 26% of total employment compared to the NI average of 11%. The discussion in the room from our latest business brief points to an appetite for future growth despite ongoing challenges, particularly in advance manufacturing where Mid Ulster is ranked third. We were delighted to host so many local businesses and facilitate a lively discussion and learnings on these key areas.”
The business briefing event is the latest in a series of First Trust Bank Business Briefing Roadshow events being held across Northern Ireland this year, mirroring the Bank’s new regional business centres.