Government of Ireland
Regional Skills

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Appetite for Growth Report Launch

15 December 2022 

Launch of Appetite for Growth: Insights into the skills needs of food and drink manufacturers in the West of Ireland.

Regional Skills West and Bia Innovator launched Appetite for Growth on Monday 12th December at BIA Innovator campus, an in-depth report which provides an Insight into the Skills needs of Food and Drink Manufacturers in the West.  

This report was launched by Minister Anne Rabbitte TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability at theDepartment of Health and the Department of Justice and Equality at Athenry in Galway. The launch was complemented by the announcement of a number of new industry-relevant and funded courses for businesses and employees in the sector.

The manufacture of food and drink products is Ireland's most important indigenous industry with a turnover of €27.5 billion and exports of €13 billion. This report highlights immediate challenges and future concerns for the food and beverage sector in the West, examining the skills deficits and offering potential solutions; it will be used to influence curriculum development to better reflect the needs of industry in partnership between local enterprises and education and training providers. Some of this work is already underway, and a number of new courses will be announced at the launch.

The report highlights a number of key findings and recommendations including the following:

  • the need to devise a voluntary strategy to collect and collate data from the food industry (business community) on an ongoing basis;
  • to consider an industry-wide Government-supported national skills assessment for the sector, along with an action plan for skills development and a food and drink sector-specific strategy for technical skills and recruitment.
  • the development of an industry platform for businesses to engage with training providers to create easy-access and engaging training courses;
  • to digitally connect stakeholders across the supply chain in the food industry;
  • to establish industry-driven working groups within the DFHERIS Regional Skills initiative to address skills gaps
  • to encourage regional clustering and short-term/long-term projects and maximise funding from Europe
  • to research the potential for a one-stop-shop of training providers across the country, channelled through the new Bia Innovator Campus as a National Centre of Excellence from Farm to Fork.

A number of exciting new industry-relevant courses were announced on the day.

  • The Galway, Roscommon Education & Training Board announced the launch of two new courses; a Commis Chef Traineeship Programme & a Bakery Traineeship.¶
  • University of Galway’s Shannon College of Hotel Management announced a range of new micro-credentials to address the transversal skills required by the food sector, including Finance for Non-Financial Managers, Leading Others, Digital Competences Data analytics, Consumer Psychology, Product Validation and Regulatory Compliance.
  • Atlantic Technological University advised that applications are now open once again for their award-winning Certificate in Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is 90% funded by the government’s Springboard+ initiative.

Eithne Nic Dhonnchadha, Director of Bia Innovator Campus and Chair of Education & Learning Sub-committee; ‘ Recognising the skill deficits in

industry is critical to ensuring providers of education and training can design and deliver targeted, innovative approaches to programme content and delivery’

This report was made possible and supported by the National Training Fund from the Department of Further andHigher Education, Research, Innovation & Science (DFHERIS).


 Denise Rocks, Regional Skills West Manager, DFHERIS: ’bringing together companies and education providers from across the region is crucial to ensuring we have the skills and talent to drive the Irish food industry forward. Creating a culture of lifelong learning and upskilling in digital transformation, transversal and green skills  is critical to meet the future skills needs of our economy and our society ’

- The BIA Innovator Campus clusters food sector incubation & innovation supports at one location with three buildings spanning 2301 square metres to support over 40 food-related on-site food businesses, hundreds of others will use the facilities. Co-located with Teagasc, Mellows Campus in Athenry, Co. Galway, the BIA Innovator Campus immediately connects into and benefits from an environment with a long and proud tradition of innovation, agriculture, rural development and rural sustainability.

- Regional Skills is an initiative of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. Regional Skills West acts as A single contact point in the West to help employers connect with the range of services and supports available across the education and training sector. It also promotes Greater collaboration and utilisation of resources across the education and training system and Provides more robust labour market information and analysis of employer needs to inform programme development.



The summary report can be accessed here.