Polymer Technology Ireland (PTI ), the Ibec group that represents the polymer industry in Ireland, along with the First Polymer Training Skillnet, have announced the expansion of its training Centre of Excellence in Athlone.
The Centre of Excellence, supporting businesses since 1999, represents Ireland’s only dedicated training centre for the polymer industry. The expansion positions the centre as a truly world-class hub, and at a time when the Irish economy faces increasing competitive challenges, will further support employers in the industry to attract and retain talent through specialised upskilling programmes and progression opportunities.
The expansion of the Centre of Excellence is a testament to the growing strength of Ireland’s indigenous polymer industry and will be a crucial platform for showcasing the latest in robotics, automation, and smart support technologies. The expansion includes a doubling of the existing training hall space along with the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment to cover a wider range of upskilling needs from machine set up, to processing and maintenance.
“World class technical skills lie at the heart of successful polymer companies. That is what First Polymer Training Skillnet is all about. We need to constantly develop our industry expertise to stay at the cutting edge of innovation and manufacturing excellence, supporting sustainable growth and development. The expansion of the Centre of Excellence will form a central pillar in the delivering of this ambition,” Mark McAuley, Director of Ibec’s Polymer Technology Ireland, said.
“Developing specialist talent in Ireland’s manufacturing and technology industries is vital for innovation and building stronger companies within the polymer sector. By supporting this Centre of Excellence, Skillnet Ireland and Ibec are providing a platform for polymer companies to work together to develop the talent they need to compete and to offer rewarding career paths for their employees,” Paul Healy, Chief Executive at Skillnet Ireland, added.
“Today’s announcement is hugely exciting. Over the course of 20 years, we have trained almost 10,000 people, supporting the needs of employers and of new and existing employees in the domestic polymer industry. The Irish polymer sector continues to evolve as one of Ireland’s premier manufacturing and technology industries. The expansion and upgrading of the Centre of Excellence will further support this growth, while continuing to bring companies together to make connections, develop business links and identify sustainable growth opportunities,” Catherine Collins, Network Manager for First Polymer Training Skillnet, said.
The polymer technology industry is the backbone of Irish manufacturing with world-class processors, with latest figures showing that suppliers and service providers employing nearly 7,000 people across 230 businesses.