Manufacturing NI hosted business leaders and key manufacturers at a business breakfast to launch Manufacturing Month NI in Belfast on Thursday 5 March.

The event, in the MAC Belfast, was held to kick off a month of activity aimed at celebrating the manufacturing industry in Northern Ireland, as the leading sector driving the local economy.

Manufacturing Month will run through the month of March with a series of events, talks, workshops and workplace tours to focus on local manufacturing achievements, address challenges faced by the industry, and encourage the next generation of manufacturing and engineering leaders.

At the breakfast, panellists discussed their hopes for the future of Manufacturing, the realities of Brexit for the sector and ways the Northern Ireland Executive can assist the industry to grow further with inward investment and support from local agencies.

The breakfast was held in partnership with Ulster Business with a panel including Johnny Hanna, Partner in Charge at KPMG, Mary Meehan, Deputy Chief Executive of Manufacturing NI, Nigel Birney, Head of Trade Credit, Willis Towers Watson, and Andrew Hodgson, Digitalisation Lead at Siemens.

Speaking at the Breakfast, Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive of Manufacturing NI:

“We are thrilled to be kicking off Manufacturing Month with a business breakfast with Northern Ireland’s business leaders and our incredible local manufacturers. Northern Ireland is full of the industry’s brightest and most capable manufacturers who create products that are used every day on a global scale.”

“The Manufacturing sector is innovating and flourishing across Northern Ireland. The skills base is distinct with educational institutions equipping our young people with the skills they need to develop the industry further. Global investment is strong, with areas such as Mid Ulster and the North West becoming central bases for leading international manufacturers to set up in.”

“Brexit has some harsh realities for the Northern Ireland economy. We need the Executive to back local businesses in the manufacturing industry and support us through the tricky times ahead through encouraging more inward investment and the sustained assistance of agencies such as Invest NI. Manufacturing Month is great opportunity for our politicians to be reminded of the good work of the industry and what more can be done for growth and development.”

“Manufacturing Month wouldn’t have been possible from the support of our sponsors, KPMG, Willis Towers Watson, Pinsent Masons, Invest NI, Barclays and Siemens. To have sponsors from each leading industry in Northern Ireland shows the strength of manufacturing with businesses across the region.”

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