The Irish Wood and Furniture Manufacturing Network (IWFMN) has been selected by Enterprise Ireland for its application for €370,000 funding over three years within the Border Enterprise Development Fund. This project will see the network undertake an ambitious Wood Industry & Supplies Development programme across the six counties adjoining Northern Ireland over the next three years.
The funding announcement was made by Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation, Heather Humphries, TD and attended by Bill Vernon, secretariat, IWFMN and Dave Tracey, Sisk.
John Sisk & Son has supported the IWFMN since its inception with Dave Tracey, joinery works training manager, Sisk serving as a board member. Stephen Bowcott, CEO, Sisk was also a guest speaker at the IWFMN Conference 2019 in Dublin.
Dave Tracey, Sisk said: “This is a very positive development, the wood industry is worth an estimated €1 billion to the economy and supports 10,000 regionally dispersed jobs. This will help promote and support training, development and help maintain excellence within the industry.”
Mr Bill Vernon, Secretariat, IWFMN said: “The IWFMN are truly delighted to have been selected for this funding. We have an enormous talent and experience amongst our members, many of whom compete for and lead global projects internationally. Across Ireland we see huge potential for the sector for further development. The border Region has a rich tradition of wood and furniture manufacturing and this project can be transformational for companies involved in that region and will provide essential support in preparing for the challenges that lie ahead.
The focus of this programme is to set up the first regional network of IWFMN in the border region. This will embed a dedicated sectoral resource in the border region to sustain and grow the border wood, furniture, joinery and associated industries. The programme, aimed at indigenous enterprises, will have a significant impact on supporting the sector as it emerges from the Covid-19 crisis. The aims of the programme include:
The IWFMN was set up following a conference in Galway in March 2017 by a group of manufacturers, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (Letterfrack) and the Western Regional Skills Forum.
Arising out of that conference it was clear that the wood manufacturing industry, incorporating enterprises such as Joinery, Timber-frame Housing, Fit-out, Shopfitting, Furniture and Wood Crafts, needed a platform and voice to express the latent potential within the sector for growth and development.
The structure of the network, embracing a triple helix model to include government agencies, education bodies and industry representatives, has enabled the IWFMN to expand its national reach and nurture an ethos of excellence, innovation, sustainability and collaboration amongst its members.
The IWFMN is actively looking for new members within the industry. For further information on the IWFMN please contact firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel 086 4008237