Heather Humphreys — Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation — recently launched Ireland’s Industry 4.0 Strategy at the Irish Manufacturing Research Centre in Mullingar, to help firms respond to the ‘transformation of the manufacturing sector being driven by new digital technologies’.
The Strategy — developed as part of Future Jobs Ireland, the whole-of-Government framework to prepare businesses and workers for the future — covers the period 2020-2025 and will support the development and adoption of new digital technologies in the sector.
Ms Humphreys said: “The manufacturing sector is a critical part of Ireland’s economy, particularly at a regional level. It supports 227,000 jobs directly, and four out of five of those jobs are outside Dublin.
"Digital technologies are transforming the sector; they present challenges but also opportunities, and we must embrace the change to sustain the quality employment it creates right across the country.
"This strategy includes a suite of actions that supports and promotes collaboration across the various stakeholders involved. By working together, we can ensure a bright future for this important sector.”
Highlights of the Strategy include: 18 strategic actions to address challenges including technology adoption, changing business models, skills, innovation, productivity and competitiveness; details of the support that is available to up-skill the existing manufacturing workforce as jobs roles change, and to provide the right mix of ICT and engineering skills; the establishment of a new group (Future Manufacturing Ireland), to co-ordinate the activities of Government-funded research centres and make it easier for companies to access the expertise that they need; and the establishment of an Industry 4.0 Stakeholder Forum to oversee implementation of the Strategy, which will include representatives from the manufacturing sector as well as Industry 4.0 experts.
Ms Humphreys also announced the approval of Enterprise Ireland’s investment in the Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) Centre, a joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.
The funding package over five years amounts to 23.5 million euros, which represents a 57% increase from the previous phase (2015-2019).