Unionists impressed by Blaney’s focus on skills and innovation

Jim Nicholson MEP, Sean Blaney and Robin Swann MLA pictured discussing the latest wheeled loaders made in Northern Ireland by Blaney Motor
Jim Nicholson MEP, Sean Blaney and Robin Swann MLA pictured discussing the latest wheeled loaders made in Northern Ireland by Blaney Motor

Ulster Unionist representatives Jim Nicholson MEP and Robin Swann MLA recently paid a visit to the Blaney Group’s Ahoghill headquarters.

The Blaney Group was founded over 20 years ago and incorporates a number of engineering based divisions including Quad-X, Blaney Agri Solutions, Blaney Fabrication, Blaney Gears, Load-X and Blaney Motor Company.

The two Ulster Unionists met with Sean Blaney, Owner and Chief Engineer and Gillian Bonnar, Export Sales Officer.

Commenting after the visit Jim Nicholson MEP said: “I enjoyed the recent opportunity to visit Blaney Group’s HQ and to learn more about the company and its plans for the future. I was particularly encouraged to hear about the business’s on-going efforts to develop new products and new markets.

“During our visit Gillian Bonnar, Export Sales Officer, outlined how Blaney Motor is a new chapter in the Blaney story and how having identified a gap in the market both at home and overseas the company is now gearing up for the in-house manufacture of a range of wheeled loaders. Whilst the company is now finalising plans for commercial production this follows over a decade of extensive research – this clearly highlights the work and investment required to bring an initial idea or concept to the marketplace.”

Ulster Unionist MLA for North Antrim Robin Swann added: “I was impressed by Blaney Group’s continued focus on skills and was interested to hear about the firm’s work with the Northern Regional College. Strong links between local employers, particularly engineering businesses, and our colleges and universities are so important. These links ensure students are equipped with the skills needed by local employers which is positive for the students, the businesses and the wider economy.

“The on-going growth and diversification of a business such as Blaney Group is particularly welcome given the recent series of job loss announcements in the manufacturing industry across Northern Ireland and in North Antrim in particular. It is important that the NI Executive provides joined-up and meaningful support to manufacturing and engineering businesses in Northern Ireland as this will help ensure the local economy is innovative and diversified. This is why I and my Ulster Unionist colleagues have repeatedly made the case for a manufacturing strategy for Northern Ireland.”

Sean Blaney, owner and Chief Engineer, concluded: “As we continue to expand, we are looking for people who can bring something special to our team across a range of areas including R&D, CAD, prototyping, production, assembly, machining, fabrication and welding as well as sales, marketing and export development. We are also looking for apprentices and applicants interested in the degree level apprenticeship who want to gain invaluable experience and to earn while they learn.

“With new markets to develop and growing dealer networks to support, we are looking forward to taking on new sales and marketing staff. Blaney’s success so far has been down to our dedicated team of local staff who are driven and passionate about what they are doing. Blaney have been able to outperform international competitors in various markets thanks to the skills and talents of local people.”