The Forum is an industry/education partnership-focused initiative established to facilitate structured dialogue between enterprise and education and training providers across Cork & Kerry.
Chaired by industry champions, we:
- bring clusters of companies from sector-specific high growth SMEs and leading MNCs together around one table with relevant heads of college departments and training centres to identify priority needs and collectively build solutions to these needs for their sector in the South-West drawing on extensive industry expertise with education and training support.
- Provide a mechanism to support employers in accessing the full-range of education & training services available to them across the region
- Share information updates on key developments across the education & training sector relevant to industry in the South-West
In recent months, we have successfully established two industry-led sectoral groups comprised of 60+ leading MNCs & high growth SMEs in the manufacturing & engineering and pharma & biopharma sectors, who at their inaugural round-table events in December 2016 & March 2017 respectively collaboratively agreed key skills priorities for their sectors in the South-West and are currently working with education & training, through the Forum, to drive out response to these actions.
The South-West Regional Skills Forum plans to expand its industry sectoral specific skills focused work in time, expanding out to further sectors where industry demand exists.
Manufacturing & Engineering Sectoral Work:
Chaired by Sean Mc Gowan, CEO, BCD Engineering, the inaugural round-table for the South-West Regional Skills Manufacturing Group took place on 8th December 2016 where 25+ companies from across the ag-tech, med-tech, automotive/aviation, electronic manufacturing and production manufacturing engineering space met to tease out the priority skills needs for their sector – existing and projected – across all occupational levels & put in place a priority action plan to address these. Chaired by Stryker, Boston Scientific & Borgwarner, focused industry/education action groups have been working since the round-table to progress the regional skills priority plan. Outputs to date & actions underway include:
- targeted education/training promotional mail-shot campaigns raising employer awareness of full range of education/training supports available in response to needs identified;
- a industry/education collaborative review of targeted engineering degree modules across the three HEIs in the South-West to ensure the optimum alignment between education programmes & industry demands;
- the co-development by CIT & IT Tralee of a new level 6 supervisory excellence programme for the manufacturing sector;
- the cross-regional development of additional, optional summer-add on work placements for 2nd year engineering students in the SW
- the development of SW collaboration STEM promotional campaigns at primary level
- pilot sectoral talent jam recruitment events
Pharma & Biopharma
Chaired by Kyran Johnson, General Manager, Janssen, the inaugural round-table for the South-West Regional Skills Pharma & Biopharma Sector took place on 23rd March 2017, in collaboration with Biopharmachem Ireland where 20+ companies from across the pharma & biopharma sectors in Cork & Kerry met to tease out the priority skills needs for their sector – existing and projected – across all occupational levels & to put in place a priority action plan to address these.
Key actions that companies are currently progressing with the support of education & training, following the round-table event, include:
The Validation Challenge: drilling into the needs & building effective education/training pathways to meet these needs. Group Chair, MSD.
Building Stronger Industry/Education Partnerships: how to capitalise on & further grow the strength of the sector in the SW via a range of mechanisms including industry/education planning & leading in new & best-in-class programmes; site visits; peer reviews; industry as guest lecturers/course advisors; targeted projects aligning to strengths/opportunities. Pilot partnership initiative targeting soft skills/professional practice due to be rolled out in academic year 2017/2018 across the 3 HEIs in SW with industry support. Group Chair, Novartis.