Medical devices industry is beating the global decline


24 Mar 2009

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More than 24,000 people in 140 companies are involved in the medical devices industry, which is tipped to grow 9.5pc this year, IBEC said at a ceremony today, where 10 people graduated from a Skilllnet programme around Lean and 6Sigma.

“At a time when many sectors of the global economy are in decline, sales of medical technology products are continuing to grow,” said Sharon Higgins, director of the Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), the IBEC group promoting the programme.

“In percentage terms, they have risen on average by 14pc over each of the past four years, and it is expected that sales will rise by 9.5pc over each of the next three years.

“There are over 24,000 people in 140 companies directly employed in the medical device and diagnostics sector in Ireland. Companies are investing heavily in upskilling personnel working in the sector, which in turn will help secure employment in Ireland in these tough economic times,” Higgins added.

The 10 trainees were the first of 800 participating nationwide in the FETAC 5 certification programme, and are all employees of Galway-based Accelent.

Since its launch last year, the IMDA Manufacturing Excellence Skillnet (www.imdaskillnet.ie) has already provided training for over 600 employees in the medical technology sector. The programme was developed last year by medical technology companies in a collaborative effort.

“This competency-based programme, which is funded by Skillnet and monitored by FÁS, has been specifically developed to ensure that companies have the appropriate skills needed to succeed in these challenging times,” Skillnet network manager Pauline O’Flanagan said.

The IMDA Skillnet is funded by member companies and the Training Network Programme, an initiative of Skillnets Ltd which is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

By John Kennedy