Government of Ireland
Regional Skills

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Regional Skills West Award Winners 2020

16 December 2020 

After what has been a challenging year for all of us, we are delighted to spread a little joy by recognising those who gave so generously of their time to support skills development in the West Region. The nominees have, between them, secured major funding for the region, helped thousands of people left without work during the lockdown to continue their career development, supported small businesses in pivoting and developed cutting edge and innovative upskilling programmes. 

This year we have three awards:

  1. Exceptional Leadership Award
  2. Outstanding Contribution Award
  3. Special Upskilling Award

And the winners are....

Special Upskilling Award Winner

Mary Ann Fergus, Penn Engineering and Lorraine Thornton, GRETB

Developed a Level 5 manufacturing traineehip with GRETB so their lowest skilled operators could upskill for the first time. Now exploring other further upskilling opportunities for them and contributing to further course design via the Manufacturing Excellence group.


Exceptional Leadership Award Winner

Cormac Mac Donncha/Shane Coss at Thermoking in partnership with  Dr. Carine Gachon & the team at GMIT

Have invested significant time and effort in developing a B Eng in Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics with GMIT, which is open to students from other companies.  Invested in a €50 million cutting edge advanced robotics facility in Galway - rather than keeping it for their company, have opened it up for use in training employees of any other company in the region.

Outstanding Contribution Award Winner 2020

Dermot O’Donovan GMIT

Helped get the Irish Wood & Furniture Manufacturing Network up and running as an independent organisation, since its spin off from Regional Skills West 2 years ago. Undertook a major skills mapping process with companies and with Regional Skills West at start of 2020. Then organised weekly skills support sessions for up to 30 wood & furniture manufacturers who business was affected during the C-19 lockdown. Secured funded from enterprise Ireland for a Cluster Manager. All while continuing his own job and research.