Talent and innovation

Innovation in manufacturing is changing people’s lives, from smart communication technologies, digital health, new drug development and new food and diet solutions. Irish manufacturing is at the leading edge of this innovation, with an increasing number of global and European R&D centres locating here, with a strong focus on developing new opportunities for a digital future.

The availability of highly skilled people, and the ability to collaborate with research intensive universities gives confidence to global manufacturers to bring the world’s most advanced technologies to Ireland. Co-locating R&D and production is a strategic choice that enables many organisations to step up the value chain. Ireland’s offering must remain internationally attractive to secure global innovation projects that have a positive net benefit to cost ratio for Ireland.

New technologies including automation, AI, digitalisation and 5G are transforming the way goods and services are produced and distributed. The challenge is determining, developing, and deploying the skills that industry needs today and the new skills of the future.


  • Unlock the National Training Fund to support enterprise-led skills development and boost enterprise education engagement. Unlock the surplus of the National Training fund, launch an industry led investment campaign that deliver key skills for a 21st century Ireland, including advice and skills supporting Industry 5.0 requirements.
  • Underpin the rollout of Impact 2030 under Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy with a commitment to increased multiannual investment in research and innovation to transform and drive innovation in the manufacturing sector. That includes closing the €307 million funding gap in higher education to deliver a sustainable funding model to support Ireland’s universities to remain at the cutting edge.
  • Create a fit-for-purpose financial model for apprenticeships: Deliver a sustainable funding model to support an integrated apprenticeship system, and to reduce anomalies between craft and consortia-led apprenticeship in relation to off the job training costs. To encourage more businesses and in particular SMEs to participate in apprenticeships, the new funding model for apprenticeships should cover the cost of off-the-job training for all employers
  • Support lifelong learning for the innovative manufacturing sector and enabling ecosystem: Ensure appropriate and sustained funding through government entities such as Skillnet Ireland, SOLAS and the HEA for upskilling in industry, to ensure it can meet current and future skills needs.

  • Develop a national skills strategy for manufacturing. Identify the next generation skills required to support advanced manufacturing and invest in targeted supports and training programmes to ensure necessary pipeline of diverse talent.