Northern Ireland Polymers Association (NIPA) in partnership with CITB NI win funding from the UKCES Futures Programme

27th August 2015

To help test, develop and improve innovation and commercial exploitation skills and practices within the polymers and construction sectors in Northern Ireland, through the 'Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing' programme

The joint NIPA and Construction Industry Training Board Northern Ireland bid was one of only five successful bidders across the UK to receive this support. The UKCES's UK Futures Programme is a series of learning programmes that target specific emerging or persistent workforce development problems. This round invited employer-led proposals from businesses and other organisations in the manufacturing sector to run initiatives until summer 2016 that focus on skills to manage the innovation process and exploit innovative products or services for commercial value.

UKCES Commissioner and leader of the competition Paul McKelvie OBE said:
“Innovation is vital for our national prosperity. It has a critical role in productivity and job creation, and nowhere is this more true than the manufacturing sector. It’s vital that we learn how manufacturing firms can optimise their workplaces and processes to take best advantage of their high-skilled, highly productive workers. We will watch and learn carefully over the coming months, and we look forward to sharing the learning from these five projects to the manufacturing sector as a whole.”

Hugh Ross, Chair of NIPA said: “We look forward to working with UKCES, CITB NI and the participating companies to address our shared challenges in improving the performance and derived operational and commercial benefits we get from our individual and collective innovation efforts”

Barry Neilson, Chief Executive, CITB NI said, “The polymers Sector in Northern Ireland is perceived as strong in productivity, export and innovation and these skills tend to be less well developed in construction and construction companies are seen as having strong project and supply chain management skills. This project will provide an excellent opportunity for construction sector employers to gain insight into how two compatible yet distinct sectors can collaborate and share best practice to help improve the innovation process, service delivery, competitiveness and achieve sustainable growth. We are looking forward to developing the skills of employers and identifying solutions that are appropriate to both sectors.”

Michael Smith, NIPA Projects Manager said: "Northern Ireland Polymers Association is delighted to be leading the way in testing new and innovative ways of working for the polymers and construction industries, here in Northern Ireland. It’s a great opportunity to be working in collaboration with CITB NI and UKCES. We believe that between us we will be able to deliver something brand new in learning and skills development to improve the business benefits we achieve through our companies innovation efforts. Whilst we are addressing the skills and practices needed for innovation we feel the approach is itself also innovative. We hope this cross-industry collaboration could have useful broader lessons which employers in other sectors can also benefit from."

For more information on UKCES and the other successful bidders see:



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