Robotic arm catch for electronic assembly line, representing advanced manufacturing skills and equipment.
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Intel launches new manufacturing skills course for women

16 Mar 2021

The advanced manufacturing skills programme will take place over 48 weeks, teaching skills across electronics, electrical, project management and more.

Intel, Fastrack to IT (FIT) and the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board have launched a new manufacturing skills programme for women.

The Advanced Manufacturing Technician Maintenance Skills pilot initiative is aiming to help women pursue careers in Ireland’s advanced manufacturing sector by giving them skills training and hands-on experience.

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The organisations said that manufacturing is “one of the most dynamic and vibrant sectors” in Ireland and is expected to see increasing growth and complexity in the years ahead with the impact of industry 4.0 and the adoption of digital technology.

Ireland is home to many manufacturing companies, producing everything from computer chips, plastics and pharmaceuticals to bulk chemicals, electrical components and control systems. Companies seeing growth in this sector include medtech manufacturer Aerogen and battery manufacturer Xerotech, and there has been investment in manufacturing research centres Confirm and I-Form.

But one issue is that there is a gender imbalance in the industry. In 2019, Ibec said that the rate of women who participate in manufacturing roles had fallen between 2001 and 2018 and that, overall, their representation in the field remained low.

Helping women take their ‘rightful place’ in manufacturing

The Advanced Manufacturing Technician Maintenance Skills programme kicks off in April of this year. It’s geared towards those interested in hands-on problem-solving and troubleshooting for manufacturing equipment, and requires no prior manufacturing knowledge or work experience.

The course will last for 48 weeks and those who complete it will receive a level-six National Framework of Qualifications award. The organisers said this will make participants well placed for a career in a technology role across any sector.

It will teach skills across electronics, electrical, mechanical and programmable logic controllers, as well as project management and problem-solving.

Participants will also undertake a 12-week integrated work placement to help them enter into the advanced manufacturing workforce.

FIT’s director of training and employment services, Edel Hesnan, said the organisation is “keen to encourage and enable more women to take their rightful place and to contribute their talents insights and expertise to Ireland’s growing manufacturing sector”.

Neil Philip, manager at Intel’s advanced manufacturing facility in Leixlip, added that the new programme will provide “a unique opportunity” for women to pursue a technical qualification that will open up pathways to the wider tech industry.

“Actively driving initiatives that encourage greater participation of women is something which is vitally important for Intel and indeed for the entire tech industry,” he said. “I welcome this collaboration with FIT and the further education sector as I believe it is a prime example of how industry and education and training can work together to shape the provision of future skills.”

Applications to the first iteration of the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Maintenance Skills programme will be accepted over the coming weeks. For more information you can contact FIT at info@fit.ie.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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