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US Special Envoy Engages with Mid Ulster’s Manufacturing Sector

The US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs, Joe Kennedy III, visited Dungannon today to take part in a Manufacturing sector roundtable discussion facilitated by Mid Ulster District Council. 

Special Envoy Kennedy was accompanied by the recently appointed US Consul General James Applegate and the Head of the NI Civil Service, Jayne Brady. The delegation met representatives from Mid Ulster District Council, Department for the Economy, Manufacturing NI, and Mid Ulster MEGA (Manufacturing & Engineering Growth & Advancement), as well as senior representatives from Mid Ulster’s leading Manufacturing businesses. 

Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering is a key economic driver in the District. Mid Ulster District has earned the reputation of being a global leader in the manufacture and distribution of mobile crushing and screening equipment, with more than 40% of the world’s product being made in Mid Ulster by manufacturing and engineering businesses and exported across the world.

Speaking at the event, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Dominic Molloy commented, “We were honoured to facilitate today’s roundtable discussion. As a Council we are focused on growing our economy and at the same time building strong and healthy communities The businesses here today are eager to engage with the U.S. delegation, recognising that mutual trade and investment can help us to achieve inclusive economic growth for our people on both sides of the Atlantic. 

“Mr. Kennedy was keen to hear about the challenges facing the manufacturing sector, and how in his role as US Special Economic Envoy he can help to turn these challenges into opportunities in the future.”

During the visit, Mr. Kennedy met with several young apprentices placed in manufacturing businesses in Mid Ulster who are undertaking their chosen apprenticeship route.  One of the apprentices spoke of her experience of being part of Northern Ireland’s first Honour Degree Apprenticeship in Manufacturing & Engineering, an initiative spearheaded by Mid Ulster MEGA and delivered in conjunction with Ulster University. 

During their placement, apprentices learn about robotics, artificial intelligence, and digitalization, among other specialisms while being given the opportunity to earn as they learn. At the end of their placement, apprentices gain both valuable qualifications and much sought-after employability skills and knowledge to equip them for a bright future within the manufacturing sector.