B&L skills-enhancing programme

Bausch + Lomb backs skillset enhancing initiative ahead of 175 jobs becoming available at its Waterford plant next year

The Bausch + Lomb (B&L) Waterford plant

Contact lens manufacturer Bausch + Lomb (B&L) has hosted an employment initiative event at its Waterford plant, which was designed to help the medical technology sector connect with potential employees.

Sponsored by IDA Ireland, the industrial development authority partnered with the Department of Social Protection and Skillsnet in 2014 to offer targeted skills and training programmes that would allow people to enhance their skillset to meet the requirements of a specialised role within the industry.

The event specifically explored the possibility of medical technology companies in the region partnering to run a programme similar to one currently established in Sligo, Ireland which aims to train candidates for process technician posts.

B&L is currently involved in a €115m (EUR) capital investment programme to expand its Waterford facility, which will result in an additional 175 jobs in 2017.

Commenting on the expansion and demonstrating the need for such a programme, B&L general manager, Damain Finn, said: “This expansion project is currently on track. Due to exceptional demand for the range of Biotrue contact lenses made in Waterford, we constantly need high-calibre people and we are currently recruiting across a broad spectrum of engineering and other skills.”

Representatives from a range of local companies attended the event, including Boston Scientific, Abbott, Amneal, EirGen, Nypro, Genzyme, Eurofins and Waters Technologies.

Training and development manager at B&L, Jackie Roche, believes that the programme brings a range of benefits to both the companies and people who take part.

She explained: “Medical technology companies such as B&L have an ongoing requirement for people with the appropriate skills and this programme has been very well designed to up-skill people whose experience – with the addition of targeted and sharply focused training – almost matches the job specification.”

She added: “The participating companies have an input into the course design and once the participants have completed training, they are eligible for paid placement with a company which puts them in a very good position to get ongoing employment. It is a ‘win-win’ for all involved.”