An €11million investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence (AMTCE) in Dundalk was announced by Education Minister Simon Harris during a tour of the facility this week.
Minister Harris also confirmed approval to appoint the main contractor to complete the final phase of refurbishment works at the centre.
The AMTCE is the largest advanced manufacturing training centre of its type on the Island of Ireland and the initiative is spearheaded by Martin O’ Brien, Chief Executive of LMETB.
The CE explained that the initiative is “a direct response to the challenges posed by Brexit and other threats to Ireland’s international competitiveness. The Centre is already driving that competitiveness through an improvement in skill levels across a host of advanced manufacturing techniques and applications.”
The LMETB has already received over €35 million in investment from the Department and SOLAS, It is estimated that overall investment in AMTCE since its establishment will be in the region of €25 million with approximately €7 million of this funding contributed by Enterprise Ireland.
“The latest round of investment will be used to complete renovations, carry out external works, extend the centre and to buy cutting-edge equipment, systems and software in what will be a state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing facility. The investment will ensure that Ireland can compete internationally in what is termed Industry 4.0 – the future of manufacturing worldwide.”
Mr. O’Brien added: “We’re delighted that the crucial role of the AMTCE has been recognised at the highest levels of government. The investment by the Department of Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science through SOLAS is proof of the importance of such a facility to the future of crucial sectors of the Irish economy. It will deliver the necessary training to underpin the transition of Irish companies to Industry 4.0 operations, leading to rewarding careers in advanced manufacturing and many other sectors.”
The AMTCE aims to be the strategic learning and training partner of choice to support the technology driven transformation of the construction, engineering, manufacturing, pharma, and food and drink sectors and will meet the manufacturing skills of the current and future workforce through apprenticeships, traineeships, and courses for employees.
Training facilities and equipment in the AMTCE include Robotics and Cobotics labs, CNC/CAM, Welding, Additive Manufacturing, engineering workshop facilities, a state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 training line as well as computer labs and virtual classroom.
The AMTCE delivers highly practical, skills-oriented training courses by leading industry practitioners in areas that include robotics, cobotics, additive manufacturing, IIoT, CAD/CAM, industrial control, cybersecurity, 3D concrete printing (3DCP), process optimisation, biopharma, and food processing.
“We are also currently exploring other major projects like the development of Cybersecurity, Sustainability and Green Skills Centres of Excellence. All these initiatives will be established in close collaboration with national and international partners, LMETB has signed severalMemoranda of Understandings (MOUs) with key players and these MOUs will form the basis for our continued expansion and reach across the EU and into the US” he pointed out.
Manufacturing’s contribution to the economy accounts for 275,000 direct jobs and supports a further 135,000 in direct jobs and over a third of Ireland’s annual GDP. 85% of those jobs are located outside Dublin, highlighting the importance of manufacturing for rural areas across the country.
The Department of Education is also funding a new headquarters for LMETB in Drogheda. An Electrical Apprenticeship Centre is also under development in Drogheda. The new centre is classified as a ‘game changer for Drogheda’ and will see up to 2,000 apprentices trained there over the coming five years. Building works are due to commence in early December with the first apprentices starting in early spring of 2023.