Search for a new Invest NI chief begins

Two years after his appointment, the chief executive of the economic development organization Invest Northern Ireland is stepping down.

Kevin Holland was appointed in October 2019 to succeed Alastair Hamilton, who had served in the position for ten years.

Mr. Holland had informed the board of Invest NI of his desire to resign, according to Invest NI. There was no word on whether his departure from the position would be immediate.

Mr. Holland said: “I joined Invest NI in 2019 after many years building international businesses around the world. Since then, I have been truly impressed by the successful businesses and people I have met here, as well as the expertise and commitment of the Invest NI team.

“There are clear centers of excellence where Northern Ireland is truly world class.

“I am proud of the positive impact we made through both the pandemic and economic uncertainties arising from the UK’s exit from the EU.

“Now, as Invest NI enters its next planning cycle, I have decided to pass on the leadership role and to focus on a new area.

“I would like to thank you all for your support over the past couple of years and look forward to seeing the continued development of this great organization.”

Mr. Holland was a diplomat before joining Invest Northern Ireland, serving as minister-counsellor life sciences, health and social affairs at the British Embassy in Beijing, China.

He previously served on the board of directors of the US-based life sciences company Baxter, where he was responsible for the company’s operations in Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

Mr. Holland provided “dedication and leadership… during a particularly tough time brought about by the impact of Brexit and the worldwide pandemic,” said Rose Mary Stalker, head of Invest Northern Ireland.

“During this time, Kevin has led the organisation in the delivery of emergency aid schemes and set up recovery plans for the region whilst maintaining Invest NI’s wide range of business programmes.

“We wish Kevin every success in the next chapter of his career.

“The process to recruit a new CEO will be initiated as soon as possible and interim arrangements will be announced over the coming days.”

Since the end of the Brexit transition phase, Invest NI has had to walk a fine line in marketing Northern Ireland’s dual market access to the EU and the United Kingdom under the NI Protocol as a selling point to investors.

Economy Ministers Diane Dodds, Paul Frew, and Gordon Lyons, however, have urged for the protocol’s abolition, claiming that it has created trade hurdles between the UK and Northern Ireland.

NI public in work reaches record high following end of furlough

NI public in work reaches record high following end of furlough

In October, the number of employees in Northern Ireland receiving pay under HMRC Pay As You Earn reached a new high.

The latest labor market statistics tend to imply that the UK Government’s vacation scheme, which concluded on September 30, was a relative success, with an increase of 3,000 employees to a record high of 768,200.

According to the numbers, this represents a 0.5 percent increase over the previous month and a 4.4 percent increase over the previous year, with about 15,000 more individuals on the payroll than when the epidemic began in March 2020.

According to the figures, 200 redundancies happened in October 2021, with 240 suggested redundancies occurring during the three-month period from August to October.

According to the numbers, 3,650 redundancies were recommended in the year from November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021, which is 62 percent less than the previous year.

According to October figures, the seasonally adjusted number of individuals on the claimant count was 47,000, down 300 from the corrected total from the previous month.

The claimant count in October is 26% lower than the recent high in May 2020, but 54% higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020.

The Labour Force Survey estimates the latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to be 4.0 percent for the period July-September 2021.

This is a 0.2 percent increase over the previous quarter and a 0.6 percent increase over the previous year. The quarterly and annual changes, however, were not statistically significant.

Over the quarter and year, the proportion of persons aged 16 to 64 in labor fell by 0.9 percent to 70.2 percent.

The economic inactivity rate, which measures the percentage of adults aged 16 to 64 who are not working and are not looking for or available for employment, grew by 0.8 percent quarter over quarter and 0.5 percent year over year to 26.8%.

Meanwhile, HMRC PAYE earnings showed that NI employees earned a median monthly wage of £1,849 in October 2021, up £4 (0.2%) from the previous month and £75 (4.2%) from the previous year.

Pizza chain to create 500 jobs in Ireland

Pizza chain to create 500 jobs in Ireland

Apache, an Irish pizza business with 180 locations around the country, is to hire 500 people as part of an all-island roadshow leading up to Christmas.

Over the next few weeks, the National Recruitment Roadshow will visit cities and universities to fill the posts as rapidly as feasible.

On December 7, the brand will bring its roadshow to Waterloo Place in Derry, Northern Ireland. While the exact number of jobs to be filled on this side of the border has not been verified, it is expected that new positions will be created across the company’s 37 locations. The 500 new opportunities include permanent, full-time, and part-time positions for general managers, supervisors, team members, and delivery drivers, and the company claims that they offer flexible working conditions, full training, and career progression.

The 500 new positions come after it announced the launch of 20 additional stores earlier this year, which resulted in 300 new jobs.

“We are delighted to create such a large number of jobs and to provide people with an immediate opportunity to join Apache Pizza, to secure local employment, and to develop and advance their career with us as we continue to grow and expand across the island of Ireland,” said Crispin McLoughlin, chief operating officer at Apache Pizza.

Each roadshow lasts from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Lidl NI launches major recruitment drive to hire for 100 new retail roles this Saturday

Lidl NI launches major recruitment drive to hire for 100 new retail roles this Saturday

To support its continued growth and expansion, Lidl Northern Ireland is launching a major recruiting roadshow to fill 100 permanent new retail posts throughout its network of stores across the province.

Six regional recruiting events will be conducted across Belfast, Downpatrick, Enniskillen, Newry, Omagh, and Portadown on Saturday, November 13 to fill a variety of in-store roles.

The new job announcement comes after Lidl NI launched a recruitment drive earlier this year to fill 170 positions across its regional warehouse and 41 store network.

This current employment intake will bring Lidl NI’s workforce to over 1,100 employees, representing an annual salary investment of over £1 million.

Attendees at the recruitment event will have the opportunity to speak with Lidl NI personnel about the Customer Assistant positions available and the market-leading benefits that come with working for Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket.

Gordon Cruikshanks, sales operations executive for Lidl NI, said: “We serve more than 300,000 weekly shoppers across Northern Ireland and as we continue to grow and welcome even more shoppers, we’re on the lookout for motivated candidates to join our friendly store teams.

“Life at Lidl NI is fast-paced and challenging but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our store teams are central to our success – they drive our frontline operations while ensuring excellent customer service and satisfaction.

“A career in retail can be hugely fun and rewarding and we pride ourselves on offering a great rate of pay, fantastic benefits, award winning training and development programmes and plenty of opportunity for progression. I would encourage anyone considering a move into retail to come along to our recruitment event, meet the team and take the first step towards a fulfilling career with one of Northern Ireland’s top companies.”

Candidates can benefit from outstanding opportunities for advancement and long-term career prospects thanks to industry-leading training. Competitive hourly rates of up to £14 per hour, supplementary compensation, limitless flexibility, and 10-hour contracts are among the additional benefits.

The Top Employers Institute recently named Lidl Northern Ireland as a Top Employer for 2021. The prestigious worldwide certification, which is held by big brands like PepsiCo, Adidas, and Heineken, demonstrates an organization’s commitment to a better world of work, as demonstrated by great HR policies and people practices.

The Top Employers Institute program certifies companies based on their HR Best Practices Survey participation and results. This poll examines 20 themes across six HR areas, including people strategy, work environment, talent acquisition, learning, well-being, diversity and inclusion, and more.

“Our most important asset has always been our people and we are very proud to be recognised for providing an exceptional place to work. We look forward to expanding our team and welcoming new talent to enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling career with us”, added Gordon.

Kantar has named Lidl as Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket, with sales up 12.2 percent year on year in 2021. Lidl contributes roughly £180 million to the local economy each year, employing 3,500 people and buying and exporting as much as £290 million in local goods and products.

More than 1,000 people work for the company at its 41 stores and Regional Distribution Centre in Nutt’s Corner, Co. Antrim.

 

On Saturday, November 13, the recruitment event will be held at the following locations:

 

Belfast/Co Antrim: Maldron Hotel, 20 Brunswick St, Belfast (9am – 2pm)

Co Armagh: Seagoe Hotel, 22 Upper Church Lane, Portadown, Craigavon (9am – 1pm)

Co Down: Denvir’s Hotel, 14 English St, Downpatrick (9am – 2pm)

Co Down: Canal Court Hotel, Merchants Quay, Newry (2pm-6pm)

Co Fermanagh: Killyhevlin Hotel, Dublin Rd, Killyhevlin, Enniskillen (2pm-6pm)

Co Tyrone: Silver Birch Hotel, 5 Gortin Rd, Tyrone, Omagh (9am – 1pm)

Registration or advance booking is not required.

For more information about careers at Lidl Northern Ireland, visit https://jobs.lidl-ni.co.uk/

Telecoms and IT companies join forces in Northern Ireland to launch eir evo and create jobs

Telecoms and IT companies join forces in Northern Ireland to launch eir evo and create jobs

With the launch of eir evo, which combines two prominent business technology brands, Northern Ireland has a major new and challenging force in telecommunications and IT.

Following the successful merger of eir Business and Evros Technology Group earlier this year, eir evo is now the largest provider to offer real end-to-end service delivery and technical innovation to the highest levels, both north and south.

By early next year, the newly combined company will have created ten new positions in Northern Ireland and will offer a comprehensive range of managed services to commercial customers across the region, including phone and data networking solutions, IT, cyber security, and cloud technologies.

In order to support its growing service provision and serve a bigger corporate audience across Northern Ireland in a fast-changing digital environment, eir Business NI has invested more than £10 million in establishing its own Next Generation high-speed fibre network since 2019.

“The announcement represents a major day for us and the larger telecoms and IT business here in Northern Ireland,” said Philip O’Meara, eir evo regional director for Northern Ireland. We’re thrilled to formally introduce eir evo, which is dedicated to creating and supporting the local business community. We intend to revolutionize the sector, make the market more competitive for customers, and make it easier for businesses across Northern Ireland to embrace innovative technology for future innovation by combining two established and industry-leading brands.

“Now more than ever, local businesses need the power to adapt, grow and evolve and we very much see eir evo as the driving force behind this important step change for customers. We’re proud to provide businesses across Northern Ireland with a new partner in digital transformation proven to place innovation, customer focus and industry-leading capability at its core.”

eir business NI began operations in 2007 as a branch of eir, Ireland’s largest telecommunications company, with around 2 million users and the country’s largest network. The corporation invested approximately £18 million in 2012 to complete the first and only island-wide interconnected Next Generation Network (NGN).

Since then, the firm has continued to provide unrivaled managed network services to the commercial and public sectors in Northern Ireland from its dedicated Service Operations Centre in Belfast. Eir business NI is locally oriented and focused, and is led by a highly experienced team.

“Since 2007, we have been dedicated to developing the telecoms and IT industry in the region, and over that time we have invested heavily in building our core network locally, connecting cities, towns, businesses, and people across the region to our services,” says Matt McCloskey, NI sales and marketing director at eir evo.

This announcement reaffirms our commitment to the people of Northern Ireland. As part of our next phase of growth, we’ll be adding 10 new roles to our highly skilled staff by early next year, as well as expanding our voice, data, and IT services portfolio to a broader business audience.

The launch of eir evo in Northern Ireland will provide a wider selection of end-to-end ICT solutions for enterprise needs, giving them more flexibility and options for future proofing their business.”

With leading accreditations from Cisco, Microsoft, Dell, VMware, Citrix, HP Enterprise, and others, eir Business has an unrivaled portfolio of solutions, accredited partnerships, and accolades.

For the third time in March 2021, eir Business was selected Cisco Partner of the Year, highlighting the company’s consistency and dedication to giving real value to its clients. For a network transformation project, eir Business also received the coveted Technical Excellence Award.

Evros Technology Group was recognized Microsoft Partner of the Year for Ireland in July 2021, for both Apps and Solutions within Microsoft Teams and Employee Experience. Both of these prizes are in honor of the several creative solutions they have developed to enable flexible working, which have been used by over 15,000 customers in 15 countries around Europe.

HGS hosting a recruitment drive across Northern Ireland

HGS hosting a recruitment drive across Northern Ireland

Job seekers are encouraged to send their resumes to Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS), a business process management firm that has announced aspirations to hire over 560 people across Northern Ireland.

Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS), a global leader in business process management and customer experience lifecycle optimization, is hiring for a variety of positions in customer service, management, and support.

HGS will launch a recruitment campaign to promote a range of jobs that are currently available, encouraging job seekers from across Northern Ireland to apply. With over 400 positions already recruited and confirmed, HGS will launch a recruitment campaign to promote a range of jobs that are currently available.

“We fully support HGS and its efforts to grow a workforce here in Northern Ireland,” Rosalind Young, investment manager at Derry City and Strabane District Council, said. We’re thrilled to see HGS expanding its footprint in the region, with the goal of eventually constructing one of their Engagement Hubs. We already know there’s a lot of talent and potential in this area, and we’ve been promoting Northern Ireland as a top remote working destination for quite some time.

“HGS is an excellent company that offers a fantastic range of employment opportunities across our Council area. All of the posts will primarily be home based and customer service experience is highly desirable in candidates. Home-based posts come with a number of positive attributes in that they offer less travelling for staff, a better work life balance, and more flexibility. Full training will be provided, and the posts will be particularly suited to those in our Council area attracted to working from home through lifestyle or necessity, and those who live in more remote communities.”

Graham Warke, Mayor of Derry City and Alderman of Strabane District Council, supports the recruitment drive and is pleased that HGS has picked Northern Ireland as a possible expansion destination. He appreciates the company’s commitment to the region, as well as the Council’s Investment and Skills teams’ efforts to promote current job opportunities and their support for the establishment of an Engagement Hub in Northern Ireland.

The Mayor encouraged the people to look at some of the employment openings, saying there are immediate vacancies for customer service advisers and other positions on both a part-time and full-time basis.

Adam Foster, CEO of HGS UK said: “We are delighted that HGS is growing in Northern Ireland and are looking forward to attracting more people from Northern Ireland. The area has a high volume of very talented candidates and offers a strong infrastructure, one which we’re proud to be supporting.”

You can send your CV directly to Preston.Recruitment@teamhgs.com

Northern Ireland Protocol credited for helping to create 1,000 new jobs

Northern Ireland Protocol credited for helping to create 1,000 new jobs

The protocol, according to the Deputy First Minister, is to thank for Almac’s announcement that it will hire 1,000 people because it has dual market access.

In the next three years, the Almac Group, a Craigavon-based pharmaceutical development and production company, plans to hire 1,800 people worldwide, 1,000 of whom will be in Northern Ireland.

The development, according to Ms O’Neill, demonstrates the benefits of the protocol’s dual access, which allows Northern Ireland firms to sell without limits in both the UK internal market and the EU single market.

Almac, which was participating in clinical studies for Covid-19 vaccines last year, promotes the protocol’s “seamless, uninterrupted, and flexible” dual market access on its website.

Ms. O’Neill stated that the announcement had given the local economy a much-needed boost.

“The Almac announcement today is a very positive announcement in what is quite a challenging time for our economy because of the pandemic and because of the outworking of Brexit,” she said.

“So I think it’s very clear from the Almac statement today that they are benefiting from the protocol that they’re able to announce over 1,000 jobs to be created here. That’s a huge boost for us. So I very much welcome that.

“But that’s what the protocol does for us, it actually gives us that opportunity to have access to both markets.

“And Almac is a really good case in point of how it actually is working. So let’s find solutions and let’s create stability. Let’s have more announcements like the Almac announcement.”

The DUP praised the employment creation, but did not mention the protocol as a cause.

“This investment is crucial for the Upper Bann area,” said Upper Bann MLA Diane Dodds. It’s encouraging to see local firms flourish and create job possibilities for Northern Ireland graduates and workers.

“We are proud to have a world-leading company on our doorstep. Almac has played a significant role in the development of the Covid-19 vaccine and many other lifesaving medicines. I welcome the opportunities that this announcement will bring to many young graduates.”

The new positions encompass operational, supervisory, and management responsibilities, and they are open to both recent graduates and seasoned professionals.

Almac in Northern Ireland will create 1,000 new employment in the region

Almac in Northern Ireland will create 1,000 new employment in the region

Almac, a pharmaceutical business located in Northern Ireland, has announced plans to hire 1,800 people over the next three years.

More than 1,000 of them will be stationed in Northern Ireland.

Almac, which develops its own medications, employs over 6,000 people across its global operations, making it one of Northern Ireland’s top employers.

Manufacturing and executing testing for large worldwide corporations is a significant element of its business.

Last year, the company, which is situated in Craigavon, County Armagh, was involved in the clinical trials of Pfizer and BioNTech’s first effective Covid-19 vaccine.

BioNTech received clinical trial help from the firm’s clinical services section in areas such as distribution, labeling, and temperature management.

“As demand for our services grows, our goal is to continue to build our worldwide workforce by aggressively hiring 1,800 new professionals across a wide variety of diverse and fascinating sectors,” stated Alan Armstrong, CEO of Almac Group.

Operational, supervisory, and managerial positions are among the new positions. Almac is one of the few truly worldwide success stories to emerge from Northern Ireland.

Sir Allen McClay, the firm’s late founder, was responsible for a substantial part of this.

His legacy carries on in the peculiar ownership structure of the firm, which is owned by the McClay Foundation charity trust.

Because of this structure, the company must constantly reinvest its revenues and be safeguarded from acquisition, allowing it to stay true to its Northern Irish heritage.

Almac has substantial facilities in the Republic of Ireland, England, and the United States, in addition to its operations in Northern Ireland.

It improved its pre-tax profit by 33% to £63.5 million in 2020, citing license fees from in-house goods as a boost to performance.

Turnover climbed by 6%, from £634 million to £677 million.

Teachers' exemption from the Fair Employment Act is 'outdated,' according to the Northern Ireland Education Department

Teachers’ exemption from the Fair Employment Act is ‘outdated,’ according to the Northern Ireland Education Department

According to a union, the exemption of teachers in Northern Ireland from fair employment legislation is “outdated” and should be repealed.

That exemption has been criticized by a number of MLAs, including former first minister Arlene Foster.

The NASUWT, a teachers’ union, is the latest to push for the exception to be repealed. Teachers are protected from Northern Ireland’s anti-discrimination statute when it comes to hiring.

The removal of the exemption, according to the NASUWT, will “address endemic nepotism and a lack of diversity in the teaching profession.” On Tuesday, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) convention in Belfast will hear the union’s motion.

It demands for the exception to be repealed with the support of the larger trade union movement

The NASUWT stated, “The practical result of this is that it is currently not prohibited to discriminate against someone in an appointment process on the basis of their religious belief.”

Teachers and clergy were exempted from the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act of 1976 because “the essential nature of the employment requires it to be done by a person holding, or not holding, a specific religious belief.”

The Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 upheld this.

The exemption allows schools to hire teachers based on their religious beliefs or backgrounds. It also implies that schools are not required by law to investigate the backgrounds of their teaching staff.

“The exemption of teachers from the religious discrimination laws is largely accepted, and advocacy for reform is a minority perspective,” the Equality Commission concluded in 2004 after investigating the exemption.

The Catholic church was concerned, according to the Equality Commission, that eliminating it would result in Catholic schools losing their religious atmosphere and becoming non-denominational.

Protestant churches were also concerned that Protestant instructors would be disadvantaged as a result of the requirement for Catholic primary school teachers to hold a certificate in religious instruction.

The commission recommended that the exemption for post-primary schools be repealed, but no changes to the law were implemented.

“It clearly should go from post-primary schools,” said Geraldine McGahey, chief commissioner of the Equality Commission. “We think there should be a determined attempt to find a method to remove it from basic schools as well.”

A number of assembly members have been skeptical in recent years of teachers’ recruiting being exempt from fair employment regulations.

According to study conducted by the Unesco Education Centre at Ulster University (UU) in 2019, it may have contributed to the fact that few instructors from Protestant backgrounds teach in Catholic-run schools, and vice versa.

“Actively examining its position on the subject,” the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) said.

The exception, however, “should stay in place until any suggestions for repeal can be proved to give entire confidence to the future of, in our case, Catholic education,” according to CCMS.

The exception is “outdated and needs to be eliminated,” according to NASUWT Northern Ireland official Justin McCamphill.

“We are calling on the first and deputy first minister to remove this and ensure that every teacher has equality of opportunity and is able to apply for work in any school regardless of their religion or perceived community background,” he said.

The leaders of the five main political parties in Northern Ireland are also expected to speak at the ICTU conference at the Waterfront Hall on Tuesday.

 

The number of people on NI payrolls has reached an all-time high

The number of people on NI payrolls has reached an all-time high

Official numbers reveal that the number of paid employees in Northern Ireland increased by 1.3 percent last month compared to before the outbreak.

Employee numbers in Northern Ireland reached a new high of 762,000 in July, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra).

It’s the second month in a row that numbers have topped pre-Covid levels from March 2020. Payroll data from HM Revenue and Customs is the most up-to-date and accurate single indicator of the labor market.

In July, the number of employees was anticipated to be 762,600, up 1.3 percent from March 2020 and 3.1 percent more than the same period previous year. It includes furloughed employees, who numbered about 44,000 at the end of June.

The furlough program is set to finish in October, but it has already started to wind down. This could explain why there was a surge in redundancies in June and July, with 850 suggested in July. Near the beginning of the pandemic crisis, the establishment of the furlough system helped to stabilize the job market.

The unemployment rate in April-June 2021 was 3.8 percent, up 0.4 percent from the previous quarter and 1.2 percent from the previous year. The data were released on Tuesday in the wake of two major employment announcements in separate sectors of the economy. Wrightbus, based in Ballymena, will create up to 300 jobs as a result of new orders.

Jo Bamford purchased the company that went into administration in 2019. A total of 120 temporary positions are being converted to permanent positions. Mr. Bamford stated that by 2022, he expects to increase the employment from 56 employees two years ago to over 900.

Meanwhile, over the next four years, Workrise, a US company, will create more than 150 technology jobs in Belfast. The Austin-based company combines building projects with laborers.

Invest Northern Ireland has granted the company about £1 million in support for the 153 new jobs, which will pay much above the private sector average.