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ASOS to Create Over 180 Jobs in Northern Ireland with new Tech Hub

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today announced that ASOS, one of the world’s leading online fashion retailers, is to invest £14million in a new Tech Hub in Belfast and create 184 new jobs over the next three years.

Welcoming ASOS to Northern Ireland, Gordon Lyons said: “Today’s announcement by ASOS is a clear vote of confidence for Northern Ireland and our strong appeal as an investment location. The development of the new Belfast Tech Hub and the creation of over 180 jobs represents a significant investment in Northern Ireland by the company. In return, our talent base will provide ASOS with the high quality engineering resources it needs to deliver its international growth plans.

“Once in place, the new jobs will contribute almost £6.5million in additional annual salaries to the local economy. Of the new roles, 130 will participate in my Department’s pre-employment Assured Skills training programme which will offer the company a pipeline of skilled people over the next three years.”

The Minister added: “The first Assured Skills Academy with ASOS, focusing on Data Engineering and being delivered by South Eastern Regional College, is open for applications now – I urge anyone who is interested and eligible to apply for this exciting opportunity.”

Speaking about the company’s decision to invest in Northern Ireland, Nick Beighton, CEO, ASOS, said: “As a rapidly growing business at the forefront of online retailing, we’re continually investing in our technology capabilities. Our new hub will provide us with cutting-edge tech expertise to support future growth. Belfast has a wealth of tech talent and we’re excited to be establishing a permanent base in such a vibrant city.”

The new Belfast hub will be operational in early 2022, with 52 dedicated roles in the first year, growing to 184 by 2024, with recruitment already under way. Recruiting across a range of levels and job functions, including engineering and data science, the creation of the new hub in Belfast is part of the wider strategic plans for ASOS’ tech team, which will enable the team to support the continued growth and expansion of ASOS.

Cliff Cohen, Chief Technology Officer, ASOS, said: “ASOS is a fast-growing business and constantly looking to innovate through our technology. As we continue to scale our investment in technology, we are looking to hire talent across engineering roles into our new Tech Hub, and help foster talent in Northern Ireland by supporting its growing reputation as a centre for tech excellence.”

To help secure this project, Invest Northern Ireland has been working with ASOS since 2017, showcasing all that Northern Ireland has to offer. The agency has offered almost £1.2million of support towards the new software engineering roles and the Department for the Economy is funding pre-employment Assured Skills Academy training to the value of almost £1million over three years.

Kevin Holland, Invest NI’s CEO said: “I’m delighted to welcome ASOS to Northern Ireland. Securing this project is yet another tremendous endorsement of our compelling value proposition which includes our highly educated population, underpinned by some of the best educational facilities in the UK. The new roles will offer a range of opportunities for software engineers and analysts, development opportunities for those in the early stages of their tech careers and will provide exciting pathways for people to join Northern Ireland’s digital workforce. We very much look forward to supporting ASOS to grow in Northern Ireland.”

Applications for the ASOS Data Engineering Assured Skills Academy are open until 5.00pm on Friday 22 October 2021. Training will commence for successful applicants on Monday 10 January 2022.

Experience is not required but applicants must be at least 18 years of age and eligible to work in the UK.

More information and details on how to apply are available at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/assured-skills

Business

‘Team Mid South West’ Embarks on a Collaborative Journey to Drive Economic Growth

The inaugural meeting of ‘Team Mid South West’ was attended by colleagues from the three MSW Region councils (Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Mid Ulster District Council, and Fermanagh & Omagh District Council) along with senior representatives from Department for Infrastructure, South West College (SWC), College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Health & Social Care Board / Northern Trust, Omagh Enterprise Company and National Museums NI. They came together for the first time in the one virtual room to discuss and agree next steps for developing the business cases for the exciting mutually-beneficial projects which will underpin the case for Growth Deal investment.

Senior leaders from across the Mid South West (MSW) Region who met virtually last month are embarking on a process to develop business cases for a range of strategic projects that will help to deliver the MSW Regional Economic Strategy and secure Growth Deal investment.

The strategy’s ambition is to supercharge the growth of the collective MSW economy and ensure inclusive prosperity. To help achieve this ambition, more than 20 projects will be developed by the MSW Councils in collaboration with Partner agencies to secure a Growth Deal investment of just over a quarter of a billion pounds from the UK and NI Governments. Developed over the next 10-15 years, the projects will turbo charge economic growth in the MSW region.

The projects will tackle specific challenges which are impeding economic growth across three key investment areas: enabling infrastructure; boosting innovation and digital capacity; and building a high-performing visitor/tourist economy. All of the projects will consider the impact on skills development and will require close cooperative working between a number of partners.

Wide ranging in their nature, many of the projects will be at the cutting edge of innovation, including a proposed NI Agri-Food Robotics Centre at CAFRE’S Loughry Campus and an Engineering, Skills and Innovation Centre being spearheaded by the South West College.  Investment will also be targeted in new strategic road networks, industrial sites, the regeneration of our town centres and in tourist destinations including the Sperrins, Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark and Armagh City, among others.

Welcoming colleagues to the meeting, Roger Wilson, Chief Executive of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said: “Collaboration is key. By working together and pooling our resources, knowledge and influence we can achieve so much more for the benefit of the entire MSW region, socially and economically. We can create more and better jobs, drive our vision to supercharge the economy, secure sustainable investment and attract more visitors to our beautiful region.”

Peter Simpson, Head of Food Technology Branch at CAFRE added: “CAFRE is delighted to be a partner and to be working in collaboration with the Councils and other Partner agencies to secure investment on the scale that the Growth Deal will deliver which will be truly transformational for this region.  We very much welcomed the opportunity to meet with all of the partners last month not least because it marked a significant milestone in our journey to date, and while we do not underestimate the challenge ahead, we can and will achieve great things by working together.”

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Business

PlotBox Named One of the UK’s Best workplaces™ In Tech

A Ballymena based company PlotBox has ranked in the 2021 UK’s Best Workplaces™ In Tech list, with the company placing in the top 20 amongst other UK’s leading tech organisations that are driving innovation, productivity and diversity during Covid-19.

In April, PlotBox were named as one of the 2021 UK’s Best Workplaces™, recognised by their employees as an organisation that promotes a healthy workplace culture through trust, pride and camaraderie during Covid-19.

In their first year of partnership with Great Place To Work®, an incredible 93% of employees agreed that PlotBox was a great place to work, with the company achieving an impressive average score of 92% across many focus areas, such as respect, teamwork, credibility and communication.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr William McCaughey said: “PlotBox is one of Mid and East Antrim’s most innovative tech companies. It comes as no surprise that under the leadership of Sean and Leona McAllister that they have received this recognition by Great Place to Work.

“As an important member of our Manufacturing Task Force we are delighted that this international company has once again been recognised for their excellence.”

Sean McAllister, PlotBox CEO commented: “We are thrilled to be listed as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ in Tech following our accreditation by Great Place to Work®. Technological innovation is at the heart of everything we do, and this highlights the incredible work carried out by our teams to help transform the landscape of bereavement and cemetery management services throughout the UK and across the globe.”

Jane Askin, PlotBox Head of Culture and Talent said: “It’s wonderful to see that our culture of collaboration, respect and empowering our people has helped us achieve this ranking on the UK’s Best Workplaces™ in Tech listing. It’s particularly special given the challenges of the past 18 months.”

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