Multinational IT services provider Version 1 is creating 180 new, high quality jobs in its Belfast office, Economy Minister Diane Dodds announced today.
Delivering IT consulting, solutions and managed services, Version 1 is investing more than £1million in its Belfast operations.
In addition, the Department for the Economy is funding a series of six Assured Skills Academies at Belfast Met, to the value of £821,000, with the aim of filling 120 of the jobs. The first Assured Skills Academy is open for applications now. Successful applicants will receive eight weeks of industry-relevant pre-employment training at Belfast Met.
Excellent News for The Local Economy
Speaking about the investment, the Minister said: “This announcement of 180 new jobs by Version 1 is excellent news for the local economy and a further endorsement of Northern Ireland as a rising global player in the digital industries and an attractive location for inward investors.
“Version 1 provides IT services for a wide range of global brands, and to do so the company needs people with specialist skills. My Department’s Assured Skills Academies have a track record of equipping participants with the skills employers need in order to flourish and grow, and this has been particularly true in the digital and tech fields.
“Furthermore, participants on these Assured Skills Academies who complete the training are guaranteed an interview for a role with Version 1 and will be strongly positioned for success. The jobs on offer are high quality, well paid roles and I urge anyone who is interested and eligible to apply for these Assured Skills Academies at Belfast Met.”
The Minister added: “In Northern Ireland’s centenary year, as we look ahead to our future economic and skills landscape, this investment by Version 1 typifies the innovation and growth in emerging industry sectors that is a cornerstone of my 10X Economic Vision. I wish the company every success as it consolidates its presence in Northern Ireland and contributes to our future prosperity.”
Kevin Holland, CEO Invest NI, said: “We’ve supported Version 1 since it established its Northern Ireland presence in 2012, and we’re pleased to have now worked with the Department to secure funding for these six Assured Skills academies.
“The importance of skills as a catalyst for growth is crucial to re-balancing the local economy. Today’s announcement contributes towards our economic recovery plans and wider ambition to create longer term economic prosperity with a highly skilled, agile workforce. The Assured Skills programme gives companies the confidence that the skills they need to be successful are available in Northern Ireland.”
Lorna McAdoo, Director of Operations Version 1 NI, said: “This is an exciting time for Version 1 in Northern Ireland as we continue to invest in local tech and IT talent who can help our customers accelerate their digital transformation. The Assured Skills Academies, which will run over the next three years, represent our ongoing commitment to Northern Ireland and our ambition to be one of the most successful IT companies here.”
Participants in the Version 1 Assured Skills Academies will study areas including Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, MTA Software Development Fundamentals in C# and .Net, Cyber Security, Software Testing and Design Thinking with Belfast Met.
Experience is not required but applicants must hold at least a 2:2 degree in any discipline, or a level 5 qualification in an ICT or STEM Subject.
Louise Warde Hunter, Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Met, said: “Belfast Met is delighted to be delivering training for this new series of Assured Skills Academies in partnership with DfE and Version 1. Our learners receive the most up-to-date, industry-relevant training in this growing sector that provides participants with vital opportunities to gain employment after completing the course.
“This is a significant investment in future skills that will enable Academy graduates to gain high quality, well paid jobs, and we look forward to welcoming our first cohort of learners.”
Applications for the first Version 1 Assured Skills Academy are open now and close at noon on 30 June. Training for successful applicants will run from 9 August until 1 October.
Murphy Announces Business Rates Revaluation
Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has today announced a revaluation of all 74,750 non-domestic properties, delivering on his commitment for more frequent revaluations here.
Known as ‘Reval2023’, this process will result in a new non-domestic Valuation List being used to calculate business rate bills from April 2023.
Announcing the revaluation, Minister Murphy said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the economy resulting in changes between business sectors and this will feed through to changes to the rental values of many properties.
“Although the last revaluation was just over a year ago in 2020, I have asked Land & Property Services to bring forward another revaluation in the shortest possible time.
“Reval2023 will maintain fairness and ensure businesses are paying rates which take account of the impact of the pandemic.”
Commenting on support provided to businesses, Minister Murphy added: “Since April 2020, I have provided over £500 million of additional business rates support, with many businesses paying no rates at all over two years. The Executive has also provided significant financial support to businesses in the form of grants.
“As we look ahead to economic recovery and given the large scale of a revaluation it is important this work gets underway now.”
Business rates are charged on most non-domestic premises including shops, offices, warehouses, factories, hotels and pubs as well as utilities such as gas, water, electricity and wind farms.
Land & Property Services will begin collecting property information from business ratepayers later this year. This important information will form a database of new rental values as at 1 October 2021, instead of the current 2018 values, and will be used in assessing new rateable values for every property.
Town and City Centre Investment Helping Thousands of Businesses in Their Recovery
A £19.3million funding programme to support town and city centres recover from the impact of Covid-19 has helped thousands of businesses across councils, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has said.
Launched in August 2020, initial funding for the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme was for measures such as shop frontage and awnings/canopies; outdoor furniture; heaters and queueing systems. More recently the funding support longer term initiatives such as the creation of cycle paths and pedestrian walkways to encourage car-free shopping, small environmental improvements and the use of open space and vacant premises to provide safe facilities.
Total funding for the scheme was made up of £12million from the Department for Communities, £5million from the Department for Infrastructure and £2.3million from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Speaking after visiting business in Enniskillen who availed of the funding Minister Hargey said: “The Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme is an excellent example of collaborative working and was created to help and support our urban and rural businesses deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic. In total the funding has supported over 3,000 businesses across the north which has helped them to reopen safely. The funding has also been used to encourage people back into our towns and city centres to spend time, to support our local businesses and ultimately to help keep our town and city centres alive and prosperous.
“It has delivered funding of £1.29million to Fermanagh & Omagh District Council to support a range of projects including grants to support businesses across the entire Council area as they prepared a pathway out of lockdown by assisting them to provide a safer shopping experience for all their customers. I was pleased to see at first hand today how some of this support has been received by businesses in Enniskillen.”
Cllr. Chris McCaffrey (Vice Chairperson) Fermanagh & Omagh District Council added: “Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is committed to working in partnership to improve the lives of all the people of the district and this approach has delivered tangible benefits making the district an attractive place to live, work and visit.
The Council has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Department for Communities over a number of years and it is a partnership we look forward to continuing to develop into the future for the benefit of our businesses and the wider community.
The £1.2million funding through the Covid-19 Business Recovery and Revitalisation Grant Aid Scheme has been used to support businesses to respond to the impacts of the Covid-19 health pandemic, to encourage people to support local to aid economic recovery and to deliver schemes which will promote and revitalise our town centres.
The Council will continue to work with the Department for Communities and other partners to provide assistance to local businesses and aid the recovery of the district into the future.”