BUSINESS DIARY . . . events coming up

Michael Bell (left), executive director at the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association, with Russell Smyth, head of sustainable futures at KPMG Ireland, ahead of the NIDFA dinner on Thursday October 12 in Belfast's Hilton Hotel


MEGA are partnering with the Magherafelt and Rural Learning Partnership Careers Committee to bring the first Explore Engineering event to the Mid Ulster area.

The aim of this exciting event is to Inspire the next generation of Engineers by introducing students to the variety of manufacturing companies (and career opportunities) on our doorstep, showcasing the products manufactured and produced, and engaging students in hands-on, interactive activities that will ignite an interest and plant the engineering seed.

The Explore Engineering event will take place on Wednesday October 18 (10.30am-5pm) and is open to all disciplines of engineering including civil, software, agricultural, etc


GREEN FUTURE: Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neil (front centre) is encouraging members to embrace renewable energy to save money and reduce their carbon footprint. The award-winning Dunadry Hotel, part of the McKeever Hotel Group, has taken a major step towards sustainability and environmental responsibility through a collaboration with Belfast-based solar energy specialist Next-Gen Power. Through the installation of a 50kW Solar PV system, including 125 solar panels, the hotel is expected to save £15,000 a year in reduced energy bills while also reducing its carbon footprint by 22 tonnes a year. Next-Gen Power is an accredited supplier of Hospitality Ulster, the non-profit organisation which represents and supports hospitality businesses across the north. Joining Colin in the gardens at the Dunadry are Next-Gen Power chief operating officer Graham Bailie and McKeever Hotel Group operations director Eddie McKeever



EVERSHEDS Sutherland will host a one-day training event at its Montgomery House Belfast office on Friday October 13 (10am-4pm) covering trade union recognition, collective bargaining and industrial action.

It is aimed at delegates new to trade unions and industrial relations, as well as delegates with more experience, including those working in unionised environments.

The training course (which costs £350 per cent) will not just look at the law, but also how to deal with ‘real life’ issues.

Speakers include Ian McFarland, partner in employment a Eversheds Sutherland Northern Ireland; Emma Humphreys, partner in labour and employment, Eversheds Sutherland UK; and Stephen Chegwin, principle associate, labour and employment, Eversheds Sutherland UK. Booking details at


SAINSBURY’S chief executive Simon Roberts will be the keynote speaker at the 27th Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) annual dinner, run in partnership with KPMG Ireland and taking place Thursday October 12 in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast.

With 300 people expected to attend, the event is widely recognised as an opportunity for food and drink leaders to come together to celebrate the industry, discuss challenges it faces and look to opportunities for growth.

NIFDA executive director Michael Bell OBE said: “We are delighted to have Simon join us as we celebrate Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturing industry and discuss the key issues that are facing NIFDA members.

“These are challenging times, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented levels of food inflation, as energy, feed, and fertiliser prices rose as a result of the war in Ukraine and other global factors.

“But despite the challenges the industry faces, local food and drink continues to grow, and the focus of NIFDA members remains on producing high quality, sustainable food and drink for our customers.

“Across the supply chain, we generate billions in value added to the local economy and support some 113,000 jobs across Northern Ireland. With the right support, we can grow even further with the right capital investment and export marketing support from government.”


CONVENIENCE retailer Centra is rallying for runners across the north to take part in its annual Run Together fundraiser, which aims to bring together 1,600 runners for one ultimate event on October 22 at Ormeau Park in Belfast.

With both a 5K and 10K run, casual and experienced runners are encouraged to take part to raise vital funds for Action Cancer (registration costs £10 and £20 respectively, and the full fee will be donated to the charity).

Centra has supported Action Cancer since 2001, and this year aims to raise an overall total of £175,000 to help keep the charity’s mobile detection the Big Bus on the road and provide its free life-saving services to communities, including breast screening, health checks, and new for 2023, skin cancer detection.

As part of Centra’s Live Well initiative, Run Together is designed to motivate people of any ability or age to embrace a healthy lifestyle by taking part in the runs, which will be staggered, with the 10K starting at 9.30am and the 5K at 11am.

Local fitness trainer Bubba will lead a pre-run stretch for all those taking part while Centra brand ambassador and radio presenter Pete Snodden will start the event and welcome participants over the finish line. Entry details at