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Economy Minister Paul Frew has highlighted the importance of the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector to Northern Ireland’s economic recovery.

Minister Frew was speaking after visits to Gray & Adams Ireland Ltd in Newtownabbey and Bamford Bus Company Ltd (trading as Wrightbus) in Ballymena.

The Minister said: “I am pleased to have been able to visit Gray & Adams and Bamford Bus Company as part of my engagement with key stakeholders across the business community. As Economy Minister it is vital I hear first-hand the challenges and opportunities our businesses are currently facing.

“These companies are prime examples of ones that embrace innovation and excellence in all that they do.”

Gray & Adams Ltd has been manufacturing in Northern Ireland since 1981. Their market leading products include refrigerated trailers and truck bodies, as well as specialist vehicles. The company also provides repair and service facilities.

Bamford Bus Company is one of the leading players in the development of a local hydrogen economy with its work on zero-emissions transport.

The Minister continued: “My Department’s 10X Economy vision sets out how a decade of innovation will benefit businesses, people and places across Northern Ireland. Advanced manufacturing and engineering is one of the priority clusters we have identified as having the potential to drive our economy forward.

“Our manufacturing sector has a strong heritage and a world-class reputation. It accounts for 11% of employment and over 15% of GVA. As we work to rebuild our economy after Covid-19, it is important for us to focus on our strengths.”