Almac Event Proves Engineers Make It Happen

May 15, 2009

8th May 2009 – Yesterday over 40 careers advisers and careers teachers from across Northern Ireland attended the ‘Engineers Make It Happen’ event at pharmaceutical development firm Almac in Craigavon. Co-hosted by the Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) and the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA), the event sought to highlight the need to encourage more young people to pursue a career in engineering at all skill levels from apprentice to graduate. The event formed part of the ‘Engineers Make It Happen’ programme that the ETB is running in Northern Ireland, funded by the Department for Employment and Learning and Invest Northern Ireland.

Speakers at the event from both industry and the education sector echoed the message that despite the current financial climate, the engineering industry offers considerable employment prospects, especially for skilled technicians and it is one of the key sectors that will power the UK out of recession. They further highlighted that the Northern Irish engineering workforce is ageing, while there is a shortage of new talent emerging to fill the spaces. Reports from Semta (the Sector Skills Council for science and engineering), Cogent (the Sector Skills Council for the process industry) and E-Skills (the Sector Skills Council for the IT industry) have highlighted concerns over this lack of supply of new talent coming through education in Northern Ireland.

Victor Jordan, the ETB’s Northern Ireland Manager, said: “Many people of all ages are unaware of the variety of careers available in engineering and the contribution the sector makes to our everyday lives. Career’s advisers and teachers have a vital role to play in building awareness about the opportunities a career in engineering can offer to young people, and with this event we wish to highlight the prospects that exist for students within the sector. This includes not only emphasising employment options but also the excitement that comes from a career where people can really make things happen, from building bridges to engineering new pharmaceuticals.”

John Douglas, Head of Engineering at Almac, said “We are delighted to support the work of the ETB and the LSDA to ensure that those people who advise students about careers are knowledgeable about the importance and reward of careers in engineering. As a pharma and biotech company who recently created almost 100 new jobs in the local economy, we appreciate the need to develop Northern Ireland’s skills and knowledge base to satisfy not only Almac’s requirements but also those of a developing sector. We believe helping to inspire the young scientists and engineers of tomorrow is key to our continued success.”


For further information please contact Callum Laidlaw on 020 7300 6136 or [email protected]

Notes to Editors

‘Engineers make it happen’ Almac Agenda

9.00 Registration & Coffee

9.30 Welcome

John Douglas, Head of Engineering, Almac

9.40 Introduction & Company Overview

Kerry Lyle, Corporate Market Development Coordinator

10.00 Science in Engineering

Dr Peter Donnelly, Bio Business Northern Ireland

10.30 Pathways to a Career in Science

Raymond Whiteford, Head of STEM,BelfastMetropolitanCollege

10.55 A ‘Day in the Life’ of:

• Steve McIntyre, Chemistry Team Leader, Almac

• Angus Lancaster, Diverse Engineering Manager, Almac

11.20 Coffee

11.50 Overview of the National Engineering Campaign

Victor Jordan, Northern Ireland Campaign Manager

12.00 Working in Engineering

Tim Harrison, Vice President, Discovery Chemistry, Almac

12.20 Open Forum Discussion

12.30 Engineering in Action – a view of the ‘Shop Floor’

1.30 Lunch and Networking

About the Engineering and Technology Board

The Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) is an independent organisation that promotes the vital contribution that engineers, engineering and technology make to our society and inspires people at all levels to pursue careers in engineering and technology. The ETB partners business and industry, government and the wider science and engineering community: producing evidence on the state of engineering, and inspiring young people to choose a career in engineering, matching employers’ demand for skills. For more information about the ETB please visit The ETB’s ‘Engineers Make It Happen’ programme is co-funded by the Department for Employment and Learning and Invest Northern Ireland, and is working with further education colleges, employers and skills organisations in Northern Ireland to improve the supply of technician-level engineers from further education into engineering industry, and to increase the understanding of engineering careers, at all skill levels, in the student population.

About the LSDA

The Learning and Skills Development AgencyNorthern Ireland (LSDA NI) is part of the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) which is an independent not-for-profit organisation committed to making a difference to learning and skills by improving quality and driving excellence in further education and training. LSDA do this by delivering quality improvement and staff development programmes that support specific government initiatives. This is achieved through research, development, staff training and consultancy and by supplying services directly to any organisation with an interest in high quality education and training. Support is always practical, delivered by skilled staff with wide ranging experience of working in education and training.

About Almac Group

The Almac Group comprises five closely integrated divisions offering a broad range of services from R&D, translational genomic services, API manufacture, formulation development, clinical trial supply and technology (IVRS/Web/EDC), to commercial-scale manufacture. Almac provides services to more than 600 companies, including all the world leaders in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors.

The company employs over 2,400 individuals and is headquartered in Craigavon, Northern Ireland. US operations are based in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and California. Construction of the company’s new $112m North American Headquarters started in July 08 and is expected to be completed 2010. Almac was awarded Northern Ireland’s “Business of the Year” award in 2009.

For more information about the Almac Group, please visit or e-mail [email protected]


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