News & Updates

Future Mobility Campus Ireland Co-Founder and COO to steer Shannon Chamber Skillnet in 2022

Shannon Chamber has announced the appointment of Dr Wassim Derguech, co-founder and chief operating officer of Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI), as the new Steering Group Chair of Shannon Chamber Skillnet. Dr Derguech succeeds outgoing Chair, Barry Lowe, engineering manager with Lufthansa Technik Turbine Shannon, who has chaired the Steering Group since 2020.

Making the announcement, Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes paid tribute to the stellar work undertaken by Mr Lowe in the past two years, during which time and due to the pandemic the network was forced to swiftly pivot its collaboration with companies and training programmes online. She welcomed the incoming Chair, stating that his skill set, particularly in technologies for the future, will add a new dimension to the types of training Shannon Chamber will be considering.

“It has been a very challenging two years, but under the direction of Barry Lowe, the Steering Group has overseen the delivery of a robust programme of relevant and forward-thinking training.

“With members drawn from diverse sectors operating in the Shannon area – Financial Services, Recruitment, Med Tech, Manufacturing, Aviation and Pharma – the Steering Group is acutely aware of the trends for skills and talent, the implications in relation to new and different jobs, and the new skills and innovations required to meet challenges that companies do and will face.

“Actively working in sectors with changing dynamics, they grasp the need to rebalance the skills mix towards the most in-demand skills, and, given the isolating impact of technology, the need for an increased focus on advanced cognitive and social and emotional skills,” Ms Downes said.

Training offered by Shannon Chamber Skillnet in the past year has been extremely diverse, ranging from digital skills and lean belts, computer skills, project management, and management training, to understanding the circular economy, or being a better leader/coach/supervisor.

Despite the challenges faced in 2021, Shannon Chamber Skillnet delivered an unprecedented number of training programmes to new and existing companies across all sectors – 216 Training Programmes to 143 companies involving over 1,200 trainees.

The training provided has benefitted both the unemployed and the employed. An increased emphasis on helping the unemployed was prompted by the fact that many positions were being made redundant by member companies. The feedback that the Chamber received for working with companies to enable them to sustain their businesses and for giving their ex-employees the opportunity to seek alternative employment has been extremely complimentary of training provided via Skillnet.

“Feedback from companies, from ongoing interaction with clients via the Network Manager, and through discussion with third-level institutions in the region, who are spotting market trends and advising us as to which skills will be needed in the medium to long term, has enabled us to expand the range of training we heretofore offered.

“We now look forward, under the leadership of Dr Derguech, to adding training in emerging technologies and to reverting at some stage this year, to offering a blend of online and in-class training, COVID-19 protocol permitting,” added Ms Downes



About Dr Wassim Derguech

Dr Wassim Derguech is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI) based in Shannon. FMCI is Ireland’s first testbed of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and Advanced Aerial Mobility. Prior to joining FMCI, Wassim was a product owner and agile delivery lead at Jaguar Land Rover Ireland where he was leading the SRE team responsible for the deployment solution of the cloud infrastructure for managing real-time vehicle data. Wassim worked as the technical manager at Derilinx, an SME that develops Open Data solutions for clients (such as the Irish Government, Central Statistics Office, the World Bank group, and others) interested in publishing, linking, analysing and visualising their data using Linked Open Data principles.

Dr Derguech is a member of Robots, Cobots and Robotics Technical Committee TC49 of the National Standards Authority of Ireland. He also worked as a research scientist at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, National University of Ireland, Galway where got his PhD and worked as the technical lead and solution architect for various national and European projects.

About Shannon Chamber Skillnet

Shannon Chamber Skillnet supports the workforce development needs of businesses within the Mid-West region through providing member companies with training directly suited to their needs. Companies’ training requirements are assessed annually through undertaking a learning needs analysis, the feedback from which directs the annual training programme offering. The Network is led by a Steering Group, which is representative of business sectors in the greater Shannon area.

Members of Shannon Chamber Skillnet Steering Group include:

  • Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber – Network Promoter
  • Dr Wassim Derguech, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, FMCI – Steering Group Chair
  • Barry Lowe, Engineering Manager, Lufthansa Technik Turbine Shannon
  • Orla Mc Carthy, HR Director, Pepper Finance Corporation Ireland
  • Russell Vickers, Co-Founder and CEO, FMCI
  • Edmund Jennings, Managing Director, CREGG Group
  • Aidan McMahon, Founder and CEO, Gentian Services Ltd.
  • Maria Frost, Vice President, Human Resources, Engine Lease Finance
  • David Brown, Shannon Chamber Director
  • Fiona Gilchrist, Shannon R&D Strategy Lead, Jaguar Land Rover
  • Lijana Kizaite, Shannon Chamber


Shannon Chamber Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and network companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

Check for all current training.

About Skillnet Ireland

Skillnet Ireland is a business support agency of the Government of Ireland. Its mandate is to advance the competitiveness, productivity, and innovation of Irish businesses through enterprise-led workforce development. Skillnet Ireland believes that maintaining a highly skilled workforce is essential to our national competitiveness. Its business is to ensure that your business has the skills it needs to thrive.

Skillnet Ireland currently supports over 18,000 businesses nationwide and provides a wide range of valuable learning experiences to over 70,000 trainees. Its mission is to facilitate increased participation in enterprise training and workforce learning in Ireland.

For further information please visit www.skillnetireland.i

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