NUI Galway starts med-tech diploma to upskill engineers and business heads for new jobs

30 Aug 2013

A new one-year diploma has kicked off at NUI Galway to upskill out-of-work engineers and business professionals, so they will be able to potentially take up new work in the med-tech sector. Ireland is currently the biggest medical-technology employer in the European Union.

At the minute, Galway is known for being one of Ireland’s major hubs for medical-device companies, particularly in the area of med tech.

The Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), the IBEC group that represents the medical technology sector, has today launched the one-year sales and marketing diploma.

Future Human

The diploma has been engineered by the IMDA and Life Sciences Skillnet, in alliance with NUI Galway and BioInnovate Ireland. The latter is a programme that brings industry, clinicians and researchers together to lead medical innovation.

Changing face of medical-device sales

Dr Sinead Keogh, director of IMDA, said the way medical devices are being sold is changing.

She said customer-facing roles, such as sales representatives, need the technological knowledge to explain how the medical technology works and its benefits.

Despite high unemployment, Keogh said many medical-technology companies are still finding it difficult to find qualified sales, marketing and product management professionals.

“This new course will give engineers and business graduates additional skills so that they can avail of these opportunities.”

What will the diploma cover?

According to Pauline O’Flanagan, manager of Life Sciences Skillnet, the modules in the one-year programme will encompass business, innovation, regulatory, and reimbursement.

She said the course should help open up a wide range of new opportunities in the med-tech sector to graduates.

Students on the programme will also have the opportunity to undertake a six-month company placement to help enhance their sales and marketing experience at the industry coalface.

Ireland’s med-tech prowess

So where is Ireland’s med-tech sector at right now?

According to Keogh, the sector is growing rapidly. Almost 1,800 new jobs and €240m in investments have been announced over the past two years.

She said that while ‘traditional’ careers in science and technology will continue to be in demand, leadership roles in sales, marketing and product management also have a critical role to play in this exporting sector.

“Last year, the sector exported products to the value of €7.9bn, making Ireland one of the largest exporters of medical technologies in Europe,” she explained.

At the minute, Ireland directly exports medical technologies to 95 of the top 100 countries, ranked by GDP.

“The sector employs over 25,000 people, which makes Ireland, per capita, the biggest medical-technology employer in European Union,” added Keogh.

Med-tech image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle
By Carmel Doyle

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic. She reported on clean tech, innovation and start-ups, covering everything from renewable energy to electric vehicles, the smart grid, nanotech, space exploration, university spin-outs and technology transfer.

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