Top Manufacturers Will Help Shape Skills
Senior executives from leading Northern Ireland manufacturers have been appointed to a new independent advisory group, which will help ensure that Northern Ireland businesses have the talent to compete in global markets and deliver faster economic growth.
The new group, announced by Bill McGinnis, chairman of McAvoy Group, a leading off-site manufacturer of modular buildings, includes Graham Whitehurst, director of Michelin in Ballymena, and Donald Hackett, managing director of Ballygawley-based Classic Marble, a manufacture of shower trays. Other members represent service industries, education and the s.
Dr McGinnis is the Northern Ireland Adviser on Employment and Skills and represents Northern Ireland on the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. He chaired the group’s inaugural meeting, which established its priorities and action plan.
A key objective of the new group is to promote and raise the levels of skills investment by employers and individuals. In doing so, it will seek greater engagement by industry in addressing its needs, particularly amongst SMEs.
Ultimately, the new group aims to raise the competitiveness of Northern Ireland businesses and their workforces to the highest international standards.
Through Mr McGinnis, the group will provide evidence-based employment and skills advice to the Minister for Employment and Learning and UK Commission, ensuring the business view is represented.
Dr McGinnis, commenting on the role of the new advisory group, said: “The challenge that we are now addressing is to ensure that people and companies have the skills, especially in the key growth areas, that Northern Ireland will need for faster economic growth and long-term prosperity.
“The group, for instance, can play a pivotal role within the industry-led communities that the MATRIX Report identified as growth drivers. This means ensuring our efforts to enhance skills are focused on those priority areas most likely to have the greatest benefits for the Northern Ireland economy.
“Continued skills investment is critical to supporting our businesses to innovate, produce, market and deliver quality products and services. These are the attributes that will determine whether our companies can successfully compete and build for sustainable and long-term profitability.
“Independent research shows that higher skills are associated with higher productivity, higher wage levels and higher employment rates. The benefits to businesses, individuals and the wider economy can be extensive.”
To facilitate this approach, the group will seek to ensure that local and national employment and skills systems are more flexible and responsive to the needs of businesses and individuals.” he added.