GEMX Now Wow How Project

Beginning in October 2022, companies from Derry, Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo have engaged in a series of facilitated workshops and on Friday 24th February, they presented their findings as a common voice at the Springtown Campus of NWRC.

The ‘Now, Wow, How’ programme has enabled an ROI cluster, BORMAC (Border Region Manufacturing Cluster), and GEMX (Generating Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence) to work together to achieve common objectives, addressing generic problems in the north west.

The ‘Now, Wow, How’ project has been delivered with support
from the cross-border trade and business development body InterTradeIreland through their Synergy initiative, which aims to scale cross border collaboration among SMEs and other players such as universities, third sector organisations and government agencies using cluster and networking supports.

The programme was mainly developed for the benefit of SMEs but also had participation from some of the larger organisations in the sector such as DuPont, The Lycra Company, Seagate and Zeus. Sessions were held at a variety of locations to enable participants to visit a range of premises and the sessions were facilitated by the Alongside Group. Stakeholders from education were also involved, including NWRC, UU, ATU and ETB.

Paul Kirkpatrick from DuPont who is the Chair of GEMX said: “It is great to hear some of the practical changes that companies have already made because of the programme. One company has even introduced a 4-day week after listening to what their employees said!”

“It is great to see an industry-driven programme that focuses on positivity and encourages companies to promote the strengths
of life, employment and employment practices within the region”, commented Tina Gillespie from Derry City & Strabane District Council. Employees from companies including GES, Maydown, Inishowen Engineering, Buncrana and Flemings, Newbuildings enjoyed the opportunities to network with people facing similar operational issues within the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector. Representatives from NWRC, ATU and ETB recognised the need for all employers and stakeholders to listen to the voice of young people.

Joanne Sweeney, Project Director of GEMX commented: “The programme delivery has been enhanced throughout by the inclusion of young people from a range of educational routes. Many of these individuals have already agreed to support future GEMX and council events by acting as ambassadors and creating informative, interesting material in the correct format to inspire people to join this sector.”