Newry Chamber Delivers Recruitment And Skills Forum

Newry Chamber ran a recruitment and skills forum in the Canal Court Hotel to address workforce challenges

Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade held a highly successful Recruitment & Skills Forum in the Canal Court Hotel & Spa, Newry on Monday 22nd April.

It was hosted by John Campbell, BBC NI’s Business & Economics Editor and focused on ‘Meeting Greater Newry’s Workforce Challenge’.

One of Newry Chamber’s core strategic pillars is centred on bringing the local business community and education and training providers together to develop a locally focused strategy to help tackle the region’s skills and recruitment challenges. This Forum is the first step in that process.

Dr. Eoin Magennis, Principal Economist, Ulster University, Edwina Flynn President Newry Chamber of Commerce, Kathleen O’Hare OBE, Chair, Northern Ireland Skills Council and Michael Savage CEO Newry Chamber of Commerce at the Recruitment and Skills Forum.

This important event was attended by over 100 people in the Greater Newry Area around how we meet the challenges of an increasingly difficult recruitment market.

Those in attendance heard two informative presentations from Keynote Speakers,  Dr Eoin Magennis, Principal Economist, Ulster University Economic Policy Centre and Kathleen O’Hare OBE, Chair of the Northern Ireland Skills Council.

Eoin and Kathleen discussed tackling the Workforce Challenges in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Area, looking at the current and future labour markets and how we develop skills here to meet the short, medium and long-term needs of business and industry.

There were also three panel discussions on the day which provided a platform to our young people, education and training providers and businesses and employers.

The event was wrapped up with an interactive feedback session which will help shape a comprehensive recruitment and skills strategy and this will be framed at a major conference in Autumn 2024.

John Byrne A Level Student St Colman’s College, Nathan Revels GCSE Student at Newry High School, Jodie McGrogan Clanrye Group Student at Paws Doggy Daycare, Max Helferty Clanrye Group Student at Rowallane Garden , John Cambell Business & Economics Editor BBC NI asking the questions and Caoimhe Boyle HLA Student at First Derivative taking part in a Panel Discussion on their Ambitions & Expectations for the future.

Panel Discussion (Young People) – Our Ambitions & Expectations for the Future

  • John Byrne, A-Level Student at St Colman’s College, Newry
  • Nathan Revels, GCSE Student at Newry High School
  • Caoimhe Boyle, HLA Student at First Derivative
  • Max Helferty, Clanrye Group Student at Rowallane Garden
  • Jodie McGrogan, Clanrye Group Student at Paws Doggy Daycare

Panel Discussion (Education & Training Providers) – The Challenge of Meeting Employers’ Needs

  • Lee Campbell, Interim CEO, Southern Regional College
  • Judith Poucher, Deputy CEO, Clanrye Group
  • Cormac McKinney, Principal, St Colman’s College, Newry
  • Lestyn Brown, Principal, Newry High School
Patricia McPolin NMD Labour Market Partnership Manager, Carmel Potter Ballynahinch Area Learning Community, Stephen Glass Lecale Learning Community and Kytrina Mullan NMD Labour Market Partnership attend NCC Recruitment and Skills Forum.

Panel Discussion (Businesses & Employers) – The Need for Enhanced Collaboration

  • Berni Lively, General Manager, The Whistledown Hotel
  • Stephen Cromie, Owner & Founder, The Exact Group
  • Caroline Grant, Chief Marketing Officer, Grant Fit Out
  • Cathal O’Neill, Managing Director, Kilmorey Care Ltd
  • Margaret Shilliday, Recruitment & HR Manager, McKeevers Chemists

Speaking at the Forum, Edwina Flynn, President of Newry Chamber said: “Newry Chamber represents over 300 local businesses of all sizes across the Greater Newry Area.

“All of these businesses are experiencing difficulties in recruiting and upskilling.

“Any strategy that we come with in partnership with other key stakeholders in the region will only work if it puts the young person and potential employee front and centre.

“The future of our local economy depends on our ability to provide attractive opportunities for our young people and those economically inactive.

“Our award-winning and top performing schools, colleges and training organisations cannot solely provide the solutions to addressing the recruitment and skills challenges we face now and in the coming years. Business must be prepared to work in partnership to find sustainable solutions. Collaboration is our only way forward.

“This event is about starting a much-needed discussion on how we can all collaborate to devise a locally-focused strategy that meets the skills and recruitment needs of our region in the 21st Century.

“By bringing local businesses and employers and education and training providers together, we as a Chamber are providing a platform for discussion through which, workable solutions can be found.”