Primark is laying off 400 people across the UK, with stores in Northern Ireland among those affected

Primark is laying off 400 people across the UK, with stores in Northern Ireland among those affected

Primark has announced the elimination of about 400 jobs across its UK outlets.

Northern Ireland outlets are included in the employment cuts, according to a spokeswoman.

Across its 191 UK locations, the business employs roughly 29,000 employees.

Primark made the announcement as part of a plan to simplify its retail operations, which includes proposed changes to management structures in its UK locations.

It is estimated that the proposed changes would see an overall reduction of around 400 jobs across the UK store estate as a result of roles being removed and a new entry-level management role being created.

The suggested changes, according to them, are intended to provide clearer responsibility, greater flexibility, and more managerial assistance on the work floor in order to better meet the business and customer needs of today.

Kari Rodgers, Primark Retail Director for the UK said: “The changes we’re proposing will deliver a simplified and more consistent management structure across all of our stores, provide more opportunities for career progression and offer greater flexibility, all of which are designed to help us provide the best possible experience for both our customers and our colleagues.

“We are now focused on supporting our colleagues who are affected by these proposed changes and will be going through the consultation process.”

Primark will now enter a consultation process with impacted employees and their representatives.

Michael Henderson, Director of the NI Takeaways Association (Image: Justin Kernoghan/Belfast Live)

Belfast man starts NI takeaways job page to help industry recover from staff shortages

Through a new employment page, a Belfast man is attempting to assist takeaways across Northern Ireland with staff shortages.

The Northern Ireland Takeaway Association was founded by Michael Henderson, 33, of West Belfast, two and a half years ago. He wanted to assist the industry after working in it for ten years and meeting a lot of individuals along the road.

Michael was overwhelmed with businesses suffering from a “revolving door of challenges” during the coronavirus outbreak, including receiving grants, constraints, and personnel shortages.

He has now started a page on social media called Takeaway Jobs NI to fight staffing challenges in the industry. This recruitment portal allows struggling companies to post job openings for free, as well as provide a resource for job seekers.

Michael talked to Belfast Live about how he founded the Northern Ireland Takeaways Association and the difficulties he’s heard from people in the industry during the pandemic.

“I’ve got to know a lot of people in the industry throughout the whole of Northern Ireland and the one thing I kept hearing was they had no support,” he said.

“The takeaway industry has been renowned for being the baby brother of the hospitality industry. It brings a lot into the economy every year, but never gets the perks or support it needs.

“It needs to have its own bracket, so we decided to start up the Northern Ireland Takeaway Association, with our aim to provide support and be a safety net for takeaways across Northern Ireland, through all ethnic minorities.

“We support a lot of takeaways around NI and throughout Covid its been a revolving door of issues. During lockdown, we were lobbying on their behalf to get them included into certain grants they weren’t included in at the start, then it was also about the 11pm restrictions, we lobbied to get that lifted and worked with Stormont to get the Covid issue across to our takeaways.”

The Association communicates with local governments, the Food Standards Agency, and takeaways, as well as working with companies across the UK to reduce takeout utility costs.

When numerous takeaways across Northern Ireland were forced to close their doors on one of their busiest evenings of the year, Michael said the difficulties hit home for him.

He said: “A third of takeaways in Northern Ireland closed on New Year’s Eve, which is one of our busiest nights of the year, because they didn’t have the staff to do it. So they’re missing out on a lot of money due to staff shortages, and over 90% of takeaways now are suffering staff issues, which sees a lot of our takeaways closing.

“There is the fear of the new VAT coming in. We’re worried up to a fifth of takeaways in Northern Ireland will close between April and June if the VAT goes back to 20%. It just won’t be viable for them on top of everything else.”

Michael hopes that by launching the Takeaway Jobs NI page, he will be able to help with staffing concerns before the new VAT rates take effect at the end of March.

They’re trying to cover more than simply staffing gaps; he’s also committed to ensuring that new hires are adequately trained and certified.

Michael added: “We’re trying to work alongside learning centres and places like Belfast Met to get something in place for training. So people will be trained up, we’re trying to professionalise the industry.

“We’re trying to train them up to get their food hygiene, fire safety, allergens certificates. We’re trying to work with the right sort of people to get them the qualifications. That’s one thing we’re aiming to get.”

During the pandemic, many people in Northern Ireland lost their jobs, with young people being the hardest hit. Michael hopes they would look for work in their local takeaways or contact the Association for assistance in finding a job.

“There are over 1,000 takeaways in Northern Ireland currently advertising jobs, and that’s the lower end of the scale,” he said.

“These are the jobs people may want, the driver shifts, the one or two nights a week. A lot of people lost their jobs during covid, and our sector can facilitate for a few shifts a week.

An American technology company will create 153 new jobs in Northern Ireland.

An American technology company will create 153 new jobs in Northern Ireland.

It will indicate high-quality positions, all of which will pay salaries above the private sector’s average annual wage.

A workforce management firm from the United States plans to open a technology engineering center in Northern Ireland, creating 153 jobs.

Workrise was founded in Austin, Texas, and it connects skilled labor contractors with companies in need of employees.

“It is a pleasure to welcome this leading technology company to Northern Ireland, an investment that will make an important contribution to our economy,” said Economy Minister Gordon Lyons.

“We want Northern Ireland to be stronger than it was before the conflict.

“We want our people to develop the skills of the future and our businesses to be resilient, innovative, sustainable and competitive.

“One of the ways we can achieve this is to attract new investment and create high-value employment.

“I am therefore very pleased to announce this latest new investment into Northern Ireland.

“Workrise’s decision to establish its new engineering center here will create 153 high-quality jobs, all paying salaries above the average annual wage for the private sector.

“With a hybrid working approach in place, people from all over Northern Ireland will be able to apply and there are exciting opportunities on offer for graduates.

“Overall the project will contribute £6.8million in wages to the local economy once all the roles are in place with benefits of the investment being felt across Northern Ireland.”

Invest Northern Ireland has offered the company £994,500 in funding to help it create new technology jobs.

Xuan Yong, co-founder and CEO of Workrise, stated, “To achieve our growth plans, we are expanding and centralizing our software engineering function.” We chose Northern Ireland as the site for this new center because of its high-quality software engineers with industry experience, as well as a strong pipeline of graduates from your excellent universities.”

Kevin Holland, CEO of Invest Northern Ireland, stated, “Northern Ireland has a well-developed and growing ICT sector.” We work with partners throughout Northern Ireland to continue developing the talent that companies like Workrise seek.

“New investors with novel technology ideas and solutions offer excellent potential for knowledge transfer, career progression and sector development, enhancing Northern Ireland’s world-class reputation in this field.

“Workrise plans to create the 153 jobs over the next four years, with an initial focus on establishing the engineering team.

“It is currently recruiting software engineering roles including Backend, Frontend and DevOps with circa 30 staff in place so far, working remotely across Northern Ireland.

“Later recruitment will turn to product management and programme management roles with ultimately plans in place to establish a central office in Belfast.

30 new jobs for Belfast as digital company Auxillion expands

30 new jobs for Belfast as digital company Auxillion expands

As part of a major expansion on the island of Ireland, a digital services company has announced the creation of 30 jobs in Belfast.

Auxilion is hiring 110 people, with 80 of them based in its Dublin office.

It comes on the heels of Almac’s announcement that it will hire 100 new employees in the north west over the next three years.

Auxilion, led by Philip Maguire, has stated that it intends to increase revenue from £35 million to more than £50 million over the next three years.

The company will be hiring for technical positions as well as project and program managers across divisions such as networking, digital workplace, consulting, and managed services. The new roles, according to the company, will drive digital transformation projects for customers such as health care and government agencies.

The expansion comes after a restructuring of operations, with senior executives relocating to build the company’s consulting business.

Mr. Maguire, the company’s founder and CEO, stated, “The pandemic has increased the rollout of digital transformation and IT change management projects, while also accelerating many organizations’ innovation strategies.”

“However, because these were implemented in such a short period of time, long-term planning and procedural governance were lacking.”

“As a result, organizations must review and re-engineer their approaches to ensure that they continue to support business objectives.”

Almac announced yesterday that it plans to hire 100 new employees over the next three years for a new facility in Derry. It has now begun hiring for a variety of project management and software engineering positions at all levels.

It stated that prior experience in the pharmaceutical industry was not required because full on-the-job training would be provided.

Almac, which performs contract development and manufacturing, now employs over 5,600 people in 18 locations around the world.

It employs 3,600 people at its Craigavon headquarters.

“We are experiencing significant growth and have a need to support our many clients around the world,” said CEO Alan Armstrong.

“With significant technological advancement, we are fortunate to be able to locate our employees wherever we choose, providing greater flexibility and access to our diverse range of services.”

“Given the skills pipeline coming from Ulster University at Magee and Coleraine, as well as the excellent choice of workspace available in the Derry/Londonderry area, we have decided to investigate this region as our next Almac location.”

He stated that the company was proud to have its global headquarters in Northern Ireland and to now be establishing itself in the north west.

The company is optimistic that it will be able to find the necessary number and quality of job applicants.


PwC Belfast announces 770 new jobs in £40m investment

PwC Belfast announces 770 new jobs in £40m investment

PwC, a professional services firm, has announced the creation of 771 jobs as part of a £40 million investment in a new advanced research and engineering center.

The investment, announced by new Economy Minister Paul Frew, will be phased in over the next five years, creating 771 jobs.

Invest Northern Ireland, the economic development agency, is contributing more than £9.8 million to the investment.

The new facility is located in Belfast and is part of PwC’s fastest-growing division, Operate.

Mr Frew stated, “PwC’s significant investment is a vote of confidence in our local workforce’s talent and the success it has already achieved here.”

“With almost £10m of support from Invest NI towards the new centre, this investment will lead to the creation of almost 800 new jobs which will generate approximately £25m in additional annual salaries for our economy.

“The new advanced research and engineering centre will drive future innovations in technology. It will enhance our reputation as a world leader in technology innovation and our capabilities in important research areas such as robotic process automation (RPA), workflow automation, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).”

He stated that areas such as RPA and AI were all highlighted in the 10X Economy, a strategy for economic growth first introduced by his predecessor, Diane Dodds, last month.

The center will be located at PwC’s new headquarters in Belfast’s Merchant Square, which was recently sold to a Saudi Arabian investment fund for £87 million, making it Northern Ireland’s largest ever office sale. The structure is scheduled to open later this summer.

It will create technology and data assets to assist clients, and recruitment for software engineering and other technology roles will begin immediately.

According to Ian McConnell, partner lead for PwC Operate, the center will be central to PwC’s future technology strategy.

“Our goal is to transform incredible ideas into technology that will solve complex business problems for the next decade and beyond.

“We’re creating a team of engineers and technologists who’ll work within a bigger innovation ecosystem, including government, academia and business, to help our clients take giant leaps, rather than incremental steps.

“It’s a huge statement of confidence from PwC UK’s Executive Board in both the Operate business and our local talent.

“The strength of our people has already enabled us to turn Operate into PwC’s fastest-growing division and I’m very proud that this gives us the opportunity to create hundreds more highly skilled jobs in Northern Ireland.”

The funding from wInvest NI will go towards 37 research and development projects in key technology areas such as RPA, workflow automation, AI, and data analytics.

It will also help to create 108 software and engineering jobs.

“We’ve been working with PwC since 2011 and, with our support, the local management have successfully positioned NI as a key hub for PwC UK, helping to grow its presence in Northern Ireland from 650 employees to over 2,500,” said Invest NI chief executive Kevin Holland.

“I am delighted that we have been able to secure the company’s further growth ambitions in Northern Ireland, with the research and engineering centre as the latest outcome of our working relationship.”

Hinduja Global Solutions UK, a company based in Northern Ireland, has announced the creation of 565 new jobs

Hinduja Global Solutions UK, a company based in Northern Ireland, has announced the creation of 565 new jobs

Economy Minister Diane Doods announced on Wednesday that a ‘business process management’ firm is creating 565 new jobs in Northern Ireland.

The news was revealed by the outgoing DUP minister during a meeting with representatives from Hinduja Global Solutions UK to announce the company’s plans. “We are a global provider of business process management (BPM) and customer experience management,” according to the company.

According to reports, HGS provides businesses with outsourcing services ranging from marketing and “digital enablement” services to “consumer interaction” services and platforms enabling back office business services.

The Minister said of the investment, “It is my pleasure to welcome HGS to Northern Ireland and announce this significant investment.” When fully implemented, a project of this size will provide a significant boost to our economy, generating additional annual salaries of around £10 million.

“The creation of over 560 jobs, all of which can be home-based, will provide job opportunities across the whole of Northern Ireland. This provides important employment options for those in rural communities and those who will be attracted to working from home through lifestyle or necessity.

“This also brings environmental benefits including reduced energy use and costs, along with less travelling for staff, less time away from home leading to improved work-life balance, less stress and more flexibility.”

Around 100 jobs are already in place, with people recruited from every council area in Northern Ireland.

Codec To Create 20 New Jobs in Belfast With £1.7m Investment

Codec To Create 20 New Jobs in Belfast With £1.7m Investment

As part of plans to boost exports, IT solutions consultancy firm Codec is investing over £ 1.7 million to expand its Belfast center with 20 new jobs.

The IT company has created roles for project managers, IT services consultants, technical support, and more with recruitment already started. This initiative is supported by an investment of £125,000 from Invest NI, the new roles will more than double Codec’s current headcount in Belfast. 

Codec’s headquarters are in Dublin, and they specialize in end-to-end IT infrastructure and technology solutions. They provide businesses with a ‘full-stack’ integrated platform for hardware, software, and database solutions to ensure that business IT operations run efficiently.

“We have shown a real resilience throughout the pandemic and have readily adapted our technology and ways of working to ensure our continued growth,” said John Molloy, Codec’s Northern Ireland Commercial Lead

“Our Belfast office is crucial to our sustained growth and the new team members will be at the forefront of delivering our global business strategy. By growing our workforce, we will add to our expertise and knowledge of analytics, cloud, and mobile technology, so that we can expand our customer offering. This will enable us to increase our export success in Great Britain, Germany, and the Nordics.

“Invest NI has been a valuable source of advice and support during our time in Northern Ireland. The high level of skills and talent we have secured since we established here was key in our decision to expand our global business from Belfast.”

The company, which has been expanding in recent years, first set up its Belfast office in 2016. Codec also has offices in Galway, Cork, London, Germany, and Poland, with more than 200 employees worldwide. Its clients include Microsoft, Dell, Zurich, AIB, Bank of Ireland, Dublin Airport, and Tourism NI.

George McKinney, director of technology and services at Invest NI, added that Codec’s expansion is “great news” for the region’s economic recovery in the wake of Covid-19.

“The digital sector will be a major driver in the recovery of the economy and the additional annual salaries of £900,000 are a welcome contribution towards this,” he said.

Recruitment is already underway for the new jobs at Codec. To learn more, visit the company’s careers portal here.