Irish Medtech Skillnet

Foreword Pauline O’Flanagan

Skillnet Ireland actively supports and works with businesses in Ireland to address their current and future skills needs. Skillnet Ireland was established in 1999 and is funded from the National Training Fund (NTF) through the Department of Education and Skills (DES). The Irish Medtech Skillnet, established in 2008 provides training to Medical Technologies and Engineering sector.

Working in partnership with Skillnet Ireland and our contracting organisation, the Irish Medtech Association (Ibec sector), the Irish Medtech Skillnet has over the past number of years grown substantially in direct response to the training needs of Industry. Total expenditure is over €3.4 million, with 40% contribution from member companies and remaining 60% funded by the state. Targets of over 5,000 trainees and 26,000 training days have been achieved.

Programmes have been designed to reflect the training needs of the industry. The network provides opportunities to develop and deliver both new and existing training programmes. Apart from delivering QQI level 5 training in Continuous Improvement (Lean/6 Sigma) for operators – the network goes a great deal further – with programmes in quality, technical, research and development, as well as highly strategic sectoral programmes developed for middle and senior management and includes accredited programmes level 5 to level 9 recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications.

In 2015, the Irish Medtech Skillnet developed the first Masters in Medical Technology Regulatory Affairs to up skill RA professionals ahead of the new EU Medical Device Regulatory Framework. In 2016, the skills need was further addressed with the development of a Fundamentals in Regulatory Affairs, Level 8 programme to meet the growing requirements of Irish companies in filling regulatory assurance roles. The network also provides some opportunities to assist with company specific training events. Since 2011, the Irish Medtech Skillnet has run programmes for the unemployed to keep the unemployed workers close to the labour market.

The Biopharma Conversion Programme converted 90% to employment in 2015 and the reduction in cost to the state in terms of social welfare payments was approximately €15,000 per month. Building on this success in 2016, we worked in conjunction with the Department of Social Protection, IDA Ireland and Skillnet Ireland to deliver a Level 6 Process Technician programme to convert skilled unemployed to the medtech sector.

If you are not already involved I would encourage you to sign up today.

Pauline O’Flanagan
Skills Oversight Manager, Medtech & Engineering Sector