Thursday 22 February 2018

Biotech and Medical Devices -- two key sectors where jobs will be available

The pharmaceutical sector continues to be buoyant in Ireland with eight out of 10 of the top worldwide companies having bases in Ireland.

Through the retention of the 12.5pc corporation tax rate, continued investment in education and innovation, pharmaceuticals companies will still find Ireland an attractive place to do business.

Biotechnology and Medical Devices continue to be major growth segments. Despite economic downturn, Ireland is still importing personnel to work in specialist roles in the pharmaceutical sector to fill the skills deficit.

One training initiative run by Innopharma Labs aims to fill the employment gap by fostering the talents of those who previously worked in manufacturing, construction, engineering and science retraining and tailoring their skills towards integration in the pharmaceutical industry.

Ian Jones, CEO of Innopharma Labs, says: "The pharmaceutical sector is still critical to our economy. We rely on it for over 50pc of our exported goods. We can't forget this. We need to support it maximally.

"We need to be lean in how we manufacture pharmaceutical products. This needs to be reflected in the people and the technologies introduced to the industry. Innopharma Labs aims to do this with our research and education partners. We love what we do and believe it benefits the Irish pharmaceutical sector."

This upskilling programme, which is affiliated with ITT Dublin, has won a bid under the new HEA Spingboard initiative to upskill the unemployed with engineering, science, construction and manufacturing backgrounds to fill these positions.

The five-month part-time course retrains participants to integrate into both operations and engineering environments within the biopharmaceutical industry.

The programme is extremely practical involving face-to-face and online learning, combined with equipment touch time in a simulated manufacturing environment.

Those completing the course will find themselves preened for positions in areas of product and process development; engineering; medical device; biopharma; and process analytical for any of the international giants.

PharmaChemical Ireland Director, Matt Moran welcome the philosophy of better aligning the education and training provision with industry's requirements, "structured collaboration between industry and academia is essential if Ireland is to expand the remit of its pharmachem base from pure manufacturing to manufacturing supported by world-class research and development -- securing the long-term future of the sector in Ireland."

Innopharma were previously successful in the LMAF initiative 2010-2011 where they recruited and upskilled 100 unemployed persons in three cohorts.

Cohort 1 who graduated in January of this year have over 80pc back in employment, and over 30pc of Cohorts 2 and 3 who are due to graduate in June 2011 have already been offered roles in companies.

Hiring companies include major Pharma and Medical Device companies such as Pfizer, Elan, Genzyme, Allergan, Warner Chilcott, MSD, Niche Generics, Creganna and Boston Scientific and The Irish Medicine Board.

According to Ian Jones, CEO Innopharma Labs: "We aligned with one or the leading 'industry-focused' colleges (ITT Dublin) and coupled that with leading pharmaceutical industry educators to provide a tailor-made, focused programme capable of preparing participants for opportunities within the pharmaceutical sector."

"This programme supports some of the key objectives outlined in the recently published IBEC paper on 'Innovation and Excellence -- Pharmachemical Ireland Strategic Plan', with regards to developing a flexible and adaptable workforce coupled with being highly efficient and cost-effective.

"As we speak there are nine major ongoing capital investments, totalling over €1.5bn -- at Centocor, Eli-Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead and Pfizer in Cork, at Genzyme and Servier in Waterford and at Merck Sharp and Dohme in Clonmel and Carlow.

"More significant is the fact that most of these investments are in Biotech or R&D -- the cutting edge of the sector. This bodes well for the long-term future of the industry in this country," adds Matt Moran.

John Behan, Head of Science, ITT reports that "this novel collaborative approach between Innopharma Labs and ITT Dublin has great potential to up-skill participants from declining industries and provides a pool of recruitable personnel for high-value niche roles within the stable pharmaceutical manufacturing industry".

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