Growth spurs on demand

Ken Whelan

The new innovation and production centres being developed by dairy processors such as Kerry Group and Glanbia are driving the demand for agriculture graduates with specialist food science skills.

Both companies are working closely with the universities and other colleges to develop the skills' base they need for their expansion at home and abroad.

A Kerry Group spokesman said the company had a very positive relationship with the colleges and was confident that Ireland's third level institutions could produce the graduates required "across all the disciplines" for the company's operations nationally and internationally.

Kerry Group is building a global innovation centre in Naas, Co Kildare and it has already recruited 400 employees who are currently working in temporary premises at the site. A further 150 will be recruited this year and the total workforce will top 800 when the facility is fully operational next year.

Glanbia is investing €150m in its new dairy production facility at Belview, Waterford Port.

The facility is scheduled to go into full production next year and the company estimates that it will create up to 1,600 direct and indirect jobs over the next five years.

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