Michael Carbery of Keenan in Borris appointed Chair of 'Engineering the South East'

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Darren Hassett

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IT Carlow are also involved with the project

Some of the biggest names in industry across the South East have come together to form a cluster group to promote and advance engineering in the region.

Engineering the South East was launched in Wexford on Thursday morning with a mission to see companies working together to address skills needs, promote careers in engineering and advance the engineering capabilities of the region.

Michael Carbery, Head of Innovation and Development Programmes with Keenan (Alltech Farming Solutions Ltd) in Borris, Carlow has been appointed Chair of Engineering the South East.

He said: "It is great to be involved with this industry led initiative. This initiative has great potential to encourage, engage and support young people in pursuing their career within the engineering industry."

The Burnside Group, Glanbia, Boston Scientific, Integer, Bausch & Lomb and CDS Architectural Metalwork are some of the indigenous and multinational engineering and manufacturing companies across the South East that have signed up to Engineering South East.

The new group intends to promote careers in engineering, a sector that currently employs almost 50,000 in the region, of which 35,000 are employed in manufacturing and 14,000 in construction.

The group said it will address skills gaps by working closely with local education and training providers.

Engineering South East has the backing of IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Engineers Ireland and will work collaboratively with Institute of Technology Carlow, Waterford Institute of Technology, the regional Education and Training Boards (WWETB, Kilkenny Carlow ETB and Tipperary ETB) and the various Skillnet Networks.

A steering group of industry representatives will oversee the strategic direction and work of Engineering South East with a focus on three main areas: skills; promotion and communications and innovation.

Separate working groups will be established to identify a number of key action areas and companies are being encouraged to participate in relevant working groups.

Speaking at the launch Brendan McDonald, South East Regional Development Manager, IDA said; "This is a proactive and very worthwhile initiative to promote engineering in the South East region.

"Engineers play an important role in many sectors in addition to engineering operations - Medical Devices, Pharma and Bio-Pharma for example.

"Collaboration between companies who have engineering functions in the South East with a focus on skills, promotion and innovation will ensure they continue to develop, grow and transform. I wish those spearheading Engineering in the South East every success and offer my continued support."

Edmond Connolly, Manager, Regional Skills South East Forum said Engineering the South East will support and promote equality, diversity and inclusivity in engineering.

Membership, which is free, is open to all engineering disciplines, including operators, technicians, engineers and apprentices.