Manufacturing Month, the annual major initiative which showcases the success and strength of Northern Ireland’s manufacturing and engineering sector, returns this May.

Led by representative body Manufacturing Northern Ireland, the entire month of May is dedicated to highlighting the companies, workers, and leaders who make the Northern Irish manufacturing sector the global success story it is. The month includes a busy programme of events, webinars, content from the sector, the flagship ‘Anchor High’ leadership summit, and the Manufacturing Hall of Fame dinner in the Guildhall in Derry on 31 May.

This year’s Manufacturing Month will also mark the 20th anniversary of Manufacturing Northern Ireland, formed in the North West in the early 2000s to provide the local manufacturing and engineering sector a strong, collective voice on issues which affected them. The organisation has flourished since then by delivering when it mattered most on issues as varied as Brexit, Covid, skills, business rates, access to labour, and investment.

The month is sponsored by some of Northern Ireland’s leading companies and organisations including Atradius, Barclays, CPL, Intertrade Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, KPMG, Lockton, and Mills Selig.

Manufacturing Month was first launched pre-Covid in March 2020 and brings together manufacturing firms, industry leaders, policy and key decision makers, schools, and young people to recognise the strengths of the sector, the great careers which are enjoyed and are possible, and celebrate the contribution local firms make to our economy and solving problems globally.

Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive, Manufacturing NI said:

“It is particularly timely that Manufacturing Month 2023 comes as we have been commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Global eyes have been fixed on this place for the past month, politicians and leaders from across the world have heralded the progress we have made since 1998, and they have spoken of our untapped economic potential. Our local manufacturing and engineering sector is at the forefront of that positive economic story we have to tell here in Northern Ireland.

“Manufacturing Month is an opportunity to recognise and properly mark the contribution made by our makers and innovators. The sector is directly responsible for over 11% of all jobs but fully support thousands of others meaning that 1 in 4 families in Northern Ireland rely on a manufacturing wage. Even with the challenges which have faced our local companies over the past few years, with record inflation and prices of everything from materials to energy going through the roof, our sector is buoyant and increasingly capturing opportunities.

“As the sector evolves and becomes more sophisticated through automation and digitisation, Northern Ireland will remain at the cutting edge of the global manufacturing industry. We have a potent mix of highly successful indigenous companies and foreign investors who have made Northern Ireland their home. This is, in large part, down to our skilled talent, strong pipelines from our excellent educational institutions, and the innovation of our local manufacturing leaders.

“This Manufacturing Month, we are looking to the next 25 years, aiming to map out a path for our local manufacturers to remain competitive globally and become more sustainable in an evolving economy. We want to ensure that our sector remains a key contributor to the regional economy of Northern Ireland and continues to be considered an attractive career choice for our very best and brightest.”

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