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Major jobs announcement kicks off investment conference

Published on 13 September 2023

Professional services firm EY is creating 1,000 jobs in Northern Ireland over the next five years in areas like cyber security and data analytics.

The new jobs - paying an average of £33,000 a year - will be based in Belfast and at a new hub in the north west.

They have been supported by Invest NI and the Department for the Economy.

They were announced as the Northern Ireland Investment Summit gets under way in Belfast.

The investment brings EY's total workforce in Northern Ireland to 1,900.

The managing partner at EY Northern Ireland, Rob Heron, said: "Our firm has been experiencing increased demand across all our business areas in recent years as clients turn to us in growing numbers to help them with their most complex and strategic problems.

"That is why we are so focused on ensuring that we continue to have the right access to great talent in the region across a diverse range of skillsets and specialisms."

More than 100 global investors and businesses are expected in Belfast for the investment summit, essentially a big sales pitch for Northern Ireland.

The government said about 120 investors and businesses from around the globe are attending.

It has been organised by the UK Department for Business and Trade and the Northern Ireland Office, together with Northern Ireland's inward investment agency Invest NI.

'Unique trading position'

Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch said the summit was "crucial to tapping" into Northern Ireland's potential.

"Northern Ireland is one of the most exciting places to invest in the world, with its unique trading position and deep expertise in industries of the future," she said.

EY Northern Ireland will be running an Assured Skills Academy Programme alongside the Department for the Economy (DFE) to deliver a pipeline of talent in areas like cyber security and data analytics.

It will focus on individuals such as those seeking to return to work following a career break, those wishing to change career, or recent graduates looking for an alternative route into professional services.

DfE permanent secretary Mike Brennan said his department's Assured Skills Academies would help to fill more than 350 jobs across a range of roles and skills areas including data and analytics, cyber security, procurement and commercial contract management and project and programme management.

Speaking ahead of the NI Investment Summit, members of the NI Business Alliance welcomed the chance to showcase local talent.

The Business Alliance is a partnership between CBI NI, the Centre for Competitiveness, the Institute of Directors NI and Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.

It said Northern Ireland was "uniquely positioned as a gateway to two of the world's largest markets".

"Unfettered and flexible access to the EU and UK makes this the only jurisdiction in the world from which business can sell into GB and the EU free of customs and regulatory barriers," it said.

The Business Alliance said investors and businesses alike valued certainty and it remains "optimistic about the prospect of more positive discussions around the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive".

'Unfettered access'

Interim CEO of Invest NI Mel Chittock said it was delighted that EY has chosen Northern Ireland "against other competitive locations globally for this significant investment".

"Securing this major mobile investment will contribute to a more regionally-balanced economy by establishing a regional hub outside Belfast and a clear commitment by EY to positively provide opportunities for the economically inactive."

Other announcements included money awarded to:

  • Belfast-based maritime technologies firm Artemis Technologies to develop electric passenger vessel services in Orkney

  • Northern Ireland-based Catagen, Terex and Wrightbus to test e-diesel and hydrogen dispensing technologies in quarrying

  • Ionic Technologies which is developing a process to produce rare earths, a key component in electric car batteries, by recycling industrial magnets.

Speaking from the Northern Ireland Investment Summit, Interim CEO of Invest NI Mel Chittock told BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme politics aren't an over arching issue for businesses.

He said he expects further investment announcements over the next 12 months as businesses understand the Windsor Framework.

He says Invest NI has seen a 15% reduction in its budget but doesn't think it has lost them any projects.

Source: BBC News (link opens in new window)