Polymer Technology Ireland, the Ibec group that represent the polymer technology sector in Ireland, today launched its 2020 strategy ‘Polymer technology: The backbone of Irish manufacturing’ (see attached) setting out how the industry is driving manufacturing growth and adding high quality jobs in Ireland.
Speaking at the launch, Polymer Technology Ireland Director Mark McAuley said: “Polymer technology is a growing industry in Ireland with the number of companies rising to 230 which boasts an annual turnover of €2.1 billion. This has driven strong jobs growth of 7.7% in the past couple of years with 7,000 now working across Ireland with major hubs in Athlone, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Dublin, Cork and Waterford.
The high-tech polymer industry is a driver of innovation in the medtech, ICT, biopharma, agri-food and automotive sectors. As well as being an industry of regional significance, the polymer sector is making a global impact with 77% of sales exported worth €1.62 billion annually.
“The Circular Economy is an important area of focus with the EU setting out ambitious targets. Companies like Wellman International have been leading the way for years with 75% of their raw material coming from recycled materials. We must make sure that the recycled materials are available to make these goals a reality. We will continue to work with our members, government and key European partners to make progress.”
Polymer Technology Ireland Chair John Wallace said: “Manufacturing has played a major role in the development of the Irish economy and the polymer technology industry is a vital area of expertise. The new Polymer Technology Ireland Strategy puts a spotlight on innovative companies like: West’s manufacturing autoinjector devices for diabetes treatment; Trend Technologies production of complex components for Jaguar and Land Rover cars; and JL Goor’s work in the design of packaging to extend the shelf-life of food products to reduce waste, to name but a few.
“As a high-tech sector, getting the right skills is essential. We’ve had great enthusiasm for the new industry-led polymer technology apprenticeship offering people a chance to earn while they learn. Additionally, for nearly 20 years, the industry has been able to upskill and reskill people at our First Polymer Training Centre in Athlone; a one-of-a-kind training centre in Athlone supported by Skillnet Ireland. To ensure people pursue careers in the polymer sector, we need to continue to highlight the attractiveness of science, technology, engineering and maths as a gateway to global opportunities. We must make sure we have ambitious investment in education, housing and infrastructure to maintain the talent pipeline.”
Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD said: “Ireland continues to be a thriving hub for the polymer technology sector and we are now one of the largest exporters of polymer products in Europe. The polymer industry offers immense potential and capability and continues to be a critical partner to the broad manufacturing sectors in Ireland. I welcome the launch of this new Polymer Technology Strategy, both as a showcase of Ireland’s talent in this space, and as a driver of industry-led skills and innovation for the future.”
“I will be working hard with my colleagues across Government, in collaboration with the Enterprise agencies under my remit, to help ensure that the polymer technology industry continues to grow in Ireland.”
- Polymer Technology Ireland 2020 Strategy.pdf - 7,069 Kbytes