Skills key to manufacturing growth
Manufacturing companies have been urged by Bill McGinnis, Northern Ireland Adviser on Employment and Skills, to position themselves for the inevitable economic recovery by investing in their employees.
Dr McGinnis, recently appointed to the new role as the Northern Ireland Adviser and Commissioner to the UK Commission on Employment and Skills, pledged his support to local manufacturing.
Dr McGinnis, chairman of the McAvoy Group in Dungannon, said: “Investment in skills will support the development of new products and services that will determine whether companies are able to seize current opportunities and position themselves for fast growth when the economy improves. There are also programmes from Invest NI and the Department for Employment and Learning to encourage companies to build workforce skills.
“My role as Northern Ireland Adviser on Employment and Skills is to help in persuading employers that skills are critical to their success and also make it easier for them to take the steps necessary to achieve this.
“I am working closely with industry and government to identify the current and future skills gaps to ensure that all our efforts are concentrated on the priority areas, including food and drink, which will have the greatest impact on the Northern Ireland economy.
“The role also includes working to ensure that our training and education systems are more flexible and tailored to our economy’s needs.
“Such a co-ordinated approach can ensure:
- Employers benefit – from a better skilled workforce, a more successful business, and a simplified skills and employment system which responds quickly to their needs;
- Individuals benefit – from improved advice and choice, better access to learning and greater individual opportunity; and
- Northern Ireland benefits – from a more efficient and motivated workforce, a strong and sustainable economy, and greater equity and social cohesion.
“There’s plenty of evidence showing that higher skills are associated with higher productivity, higher wage levels and higher employment rates.
“The future success of our economy therefore depends on employers and individuals recognising that their long-term prosperity is inextricably linked to how they develop and utilise their skills base. This in turn will lead to wider economic benefits, including improved productivity and sustainable employment in food and other industries.”