More than 40 jobs have been created with the opening of a new hotel in Londonderry city centre.

The 119 bedroom hotel is the second largest hotel in Londonderry and is located on the bustling Strand Road.

The Holiday Inn Express on Strand Road opened its doors following investment of £7m.

The opening coincides with the Foyle Cup soccer tournament and teams from Glenavon FC, Barnsley FC and Beann Mhádagháin FC are among the hotel’s first guests.

It has 119 bedrooms and becomes the second largest hotel in Derry. Located on the bustling Strand Road and a short walk to the historic city wall the hotel is the latest edition to a growing tourism and conference offering in the city that supports 4,685 jobs and has witnessed year on year growth.

MULTI-award winning technology giant Allstate is in negotiations to move into a new purpose-built 850-seat flagship office block in Derry, the Irish News can reveal.

The company, one of Northern Ireland’s first major IT inward investors, is understood to have identified a site at Ebrington, and expects the building to be open within two to three years.

The ambitious move will consolidate its operations in the north west, where it already employs around 800 staff at sites in Derry’s Northland Road and in Strabane.

The existing city office is likely to close under the new arrangement, but the Strabane facility will be retained, and it is thought a significant number of new jobs will be added to its current 2,100-strong payroll.

The company would not reveal exact details of the relocation when contacted by the Irish News given the early stages of its vision.

But a spokesman confirmed that “our real estate team in the US is currently in talks with developers” about creating the new Derry hub.

Allstate is already running at maximum capacity in Derry, and such is the speed of its organic growth that is it having to hire 100 seats at the Catalyst science park building in the city just to alleviate its current capacity problem.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of the Allstate Corporation, the largest publicly owned property and casualty insurance company in the US, Allstate has been a significant part of the business landscape in Northern Ireland for 20 years.

And its latest expansion will be seen as demonstrating confidence in the region’s highly educated workforce, competitive cost base and its research and development capability.

The Derry facility will be a slightly smaller scale version of the new 140,000 sq ft headquarters building which Allstate opened at Mays Meadow in Belfast last June as part of a £30 million investment.

That building, located between Central Station and the River Lagan, was completed in just two years. It spans six floors and includes large sociable working spaces, break-out areas, outdoor terrace and high-tech software development labs.

The project also involved extensive refurbishment of the tow path, adjacent boat marina and a restaurant unit at ground level.

At the time, Allstate NI’s managing director John Healy described the office as “a truly ground-breaking facility – an inspirational working space fit for a world-class technology organisation with a commitment to innovation, imagination and building digital technology of the future.”

The company first dipped its toe into the Northern Ireland market in 1999 as Northbrook Technology before rebranding to Allstate in 2008.

Throughout its history the company has consistently reinvested to become one of the biggest employers of tech talent in the north.

Total financial assistance offered by Invest NI to Allstate over the past 20 years is £27.2 million.

At the opening of its Belfast headquarters last year, Secretary of State Karen Bradley said: “Allstate has been instrumental in showing that, with ambition and vision, a company can grow its workforce tenfold.

“Not only have they created one of Northern Ireland’s first major IT inward investors, but they have tapped into the wealth of talent that the local workforce provides to overseas investors, providing high-quality jobs across Belfast and the north west.

“By continually investing in their staff, and their research and development into IT excellence, the Northern Ireland team are at the forefront of digital innovation. I thank them for the pivotal role they play in developing a Northern Ireland economy fit for the future.”

Significant City Deal and Economic Growth Funding Package confirmed for Derry and Strabane.

The announcement today of a £105M economic package by the UK Government in the Derry City and Strabane City Region has been widely welcomed by City and District partners with the Mayor saying it will be “a significant catalyst for change and economic growth” for the Derry City and Strabane District and the wider North West and expressed his delight that it has been secured during his Mayoral year as a key priority.

The investment package announced comprises a £50M ‘City Deal’ and a £55M ‘Inclusive Future Fund’ and is the culmination of a long period of engagement with Government in relation to advancing priority projects and initiatives within the City and District’s Inclusive Strategic Growth Plan and City Deal proposals.

Reflecting the model recently announced by Government for the Belfast Region City Deal, it is anticipated that the UK Government investment package announced today of £105M for Derry~Londonderry and Strabane will be at least matched by a similar commitment from the NI Executive and will lever further investment from project partners and other third party sources which it is hoped will eventually lead to an overall investment injection of in excess of £300M.

The announcement follows a visit to the City last July when the Chancellor, Philip Hammond met with civic and political leaders to hear of the plans and invited a bid for a City Deal to be formally submitted.

The bid, supported and endorsed by all local and regional political parties and representatives and devised around the key strategic economic projects outlined in the City and District’s Inclusive Strategic Growth Plan 2017-2032.

Led by Derry City and Strabane District Council, the bid was developed in partnership, and with the support of a wide range of local education, business and economic partners – including the Ulster University, the North West Regional College, both the Londonderry and Strabane Chambers of Commerce, the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Visit Derry, City Centre Initiative and the Foyle Port, in consultation with all associated NI Government Departments.

At the core of the bid is education, innovation, job creation and skills development with a key focus being the advancement of the much sought after expansion and growth of the Magee campus of Ulster University.

The investment package announced today, will enable planning and business case development to now proceed on proposals for a significant landmark riverfront university medical education and innovation hub, comprising a graduate entry medical college and centres of innovation, research and teaching excellence in data-driven personalised medicine, cognitive analytics and robotics and automation, eventually delivering over 200 new posts/research assistants at the City’s university and upwards of 2,000 additional students.

The stimulus package will additionally advance the delivery of a range of smart city and digital infrastructure projects and initiatives, further positioning the City and District as a highly digitally enabled location for cutting-edge business development and expansion and inward investment.

The catalytic impact of this could therefore result in the single biggest ever combined and integrated funding injection the City and District, that will enable progress and delivery of other key infrastructure, tourism and regeneration projects contained within the Plan and Bid in both Derry City Centre and Riverfront and in Strabane Town Centre.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle said: “This hugely significant announcement today for the Derry and Strabane District will go some considerable way in addressing the long-standing obstacles to economic development that this City Region and its people face. It is good news and is the result of an enormous amount of work and sustained effort invested by Council and the City and Regional partners to develop, deliver and negotiate on the bid.”

Council Chief Executive John Kelpie acknowledged the collaborative approach and the unified vision and commitment demonstrated by politicians, and partner organisations in development of the bid and the advice and support received regionally and nationally in securing such a positive outcome.

Enthusiastic about the opportunity presented by today’s announcement he commented: “This City and District has seen much progress in recent years economically, physically and socially. It has however significant remaining challenges in overcoming an infrastructure deficit and a legacy of underinvestment both of which have been such inhibitors to sustainable economic growth.

“This funding package, if directed at the key agreed strategic growth projects and if used to lever significant further public and private sector investment, will deliver a new era of unprecedented growth and development for the City and Region providing tangible benefits for all of our citizens and a promising future for our children and young people.”

Other City Deal Project partners reacted equally positively with the Vice Chancellor of Ulster University, Professor Paddy Nixon said, “This investment will now see the rapid development of plans to grow and enhance facilities and student numbers at the Magee Campus including the Graduate Entry Medical School.”

Brian McGrath, President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce said: “This funding is hugely welcome and provides a solid platform upon which to grow and enhance the competitiveness of the City and Region and attract further significant exciting new companies, business prospects and investment.”

Council Chief Executive, John Kelpie concluded:  “The next steps will now be for everyone to continue to work together to develop the necessary detailed business plans and advance the projects through planning and design. We will do this by using this unprecedented opportunity to promote the future of this City and District as a location of choice for all in terms of business, lifestyle and ambition.”

Fleming Agri to create 34 new jobs in the North West

Londonderry based manufacturer, Fleming Agri Products has announced it is making a £4 million investment and creating 34 new jobs in the North West.

The company is a leading manufacturer of agricultural and ground maintenance machinery. Making the announcement, George Fleming, Chairman of Fleming Agri-Products said:“This £4million investment will help us to meet our strategic growth plans and boost sales in external markets.

“Over the past few years, we have developed new products which have helped to significantly improve our sales performance. With this new investment and the addition of 34 new staff, we hope to break into new markets, including the US and expand our existing sales in Europe.y

“Our main goal is to increase sales in external markets and put in place the necessary resources and infrastructure to enable us to service the increased demand for our products. This investment is a major commitment to the North West region and to our existing staff to help us build long-term sustainability and we look forward to welcoming new people on board to help us drive the future of our business.”

Invest NI has offered the company £220,000 of support towards the new roles which include Production Operatives, Sales Executives and Managers. The 34 staff will be in place by 2020, with 15 of the roles already in place.

Des Gartland, Executive Director for Regional Business, Invest NI said:“Fleming Agri Products is a highly regarded business in the North West area with a strong brand reputation. We have offered Fleming Agri wide ranging support over the last number of years, helping the company improve its performance and strengthen its business.

Pictured (L-R) are Des Gartland, Executive Director for Regional Business, Invest NI and George Fleming, Chairman of Fleming Agri-Products.

Pictured (L-R) are Des Gartland, Executive Director for Regional Business, Invest NI and George Fleming, Chairman of Fleming Agri-Products.

“The company’s pragmatic approach has proven extremely successful and it is great to see an indigenous company reinvesting in the local area. The new jobs being created will generate over £700,000 in additional annual salaries for the Northern Ireland economy which is a great boost for the Derry City & Strabane District Council area.”

This £4million investment will help us to meet our strategic growth plans and boost sales

Alchemy Technology Services has announced it is setting up a European Centre of Excellence in Derry. It will provide software implementation and technology consultancy to the UK and European insurance sector. The company will provide certified staff to System Integrators, Software Providers and insurance companies for the implementation of digital solutions across the insurance industry. To meet this demand the company aims to recruit 256 staff.

144310822-ffd75ada-1158-4a77-80d9-a0786ff2f77a
Announcing the significant investment, Alastair Hamilton, CEO, Invest Northern Ireland said: “The Alchemy management team has extensive knowledge of the insurance sector and in delivering transformation projects. They have identified a gap in the market to provide a service to the insurance industry and believe Londonderry is the right place to find the talent to meet this need. “Alchemy is planning to create the new roles in software implementation and technology consultancy over the next three years. The majority of the roles will be customer facing with the opportunity to work on projects right across Europe. “With average salaries in the mid-£20k range, and good opportunities for progression, these are roles that will suit college and university students, as well as graduates. “Once the project is fully implemented it will generate over £6.5 million in annual salaries, a real economic boost for Northern Ireland, and the North West specifically.” The government has offered nearly £2.3m of funding to support the creation of the new roles and secure the project for Northern Ireland.

John Harkin, Director and Founder, Alchemy said: “Insurance companies in the UK, and across Europe, are making an unprecedented investment in the digital transformation of their core systems and processes to respond to the changing demands within their marketplace. There is a real shortage of specialist skills to respond to this upsurge in digital transformation projects across the insurance industry. We plan to help meet that demand by bringing new talent into the industry. “We look forward to working with the Department for the Economy’s Assured Skills Training programme to recruit business and technology oriented graduates and college students with good communication and interpersonal skills to fill these customer facing roles. “I am originally from Derry, and have made frequent visits here in recent months as we assessed different locations for this investment. I have met with the colleges and university, and numerous students and have been impressed. I am confident that this is the right place to set up our business and find the talent we need.”

90 new jobs at E&I Engineering ‘a massive boost’ for Derry City and Strabane Region

E&I Engineering is to recruit 90 new staff with €9.5million investment and support of Enterprise Ireland. Donegal TD and Minister Joe McHugh said today the creation of 90 jobs at Burnfoot close to the Derry-Donegal border is a “massive boost and vote of confidence” in the region.

_103378218_img_4032
E&I was founded by Derry businessman Philip O’Doherty in 1986 and is currently one of the region’s largest private sector employers, with a workforce of 1,200 people hailing from both sides of the border.

“It was a privilege to be in E&I Engineering this morning to see the success story that has been built up in this part of Inishowen and now has a presence in 40 countries worldwide,” the Government Chief Whip said. “I would also like to thank An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar for coming to Co Donegal and making E&I his first stop on a busy day. “E&I is at the top of its game. Enormous credit has to go to the likes of the company’s managing director Philip O’Doherty and the management team and workers whose drive and skills have taken the company to compete and win on the global stage. “And it says something about Donegal and Inishowen that the company are still striving to make their base in Ireland bigger and better.”

The E&I investment comes after Alchemy Technology Services yesterday announced 256 jobs for Derry yesterday, which in turn followed Danske Bank’s announcement of 67 jobs for the city last week.

Danske Bank creates 67 jobs in Londonderry

Danske Bank has created 67 jobs in Londonderry at a new customer protection centre.

The roles, 25 of which have already been filled, will include quality assurance managers and analysts.

Invest Northern Ireland has offered Danske Bank £234,500 towards the creation of the jobs.

_99701455_danske

Once fully operational, the centre will generate nearly £1.5m annually for the local economy in salaries, according to Danske Bank.

Cyber crime
Stephen Matchett, Danske Bank’s chief financial officer, said: “This is exciting news”.

“We also had great support from Invest NI.

“The centre will be there for due diligence. How customers operate on their accounts is vital information that we need to be across.

“Cyber crime is very important to us. The centre will have direct contact to the customer.”

He said the typical salary would be in the region of £17,000 or £18,000.

Local tech entrepreneur wins UK Gamechanger of the Year Award

Robert O’Brien, CEO of leading cyber tech firm MetaCompliance, has won the UK Gamechanger of the Year Award at the ACQ5 Global Awards 2018.

Robert O’Brien, CEO of leading cyber tech firm MetaCompliance

Robert O’Brien, CEO of leading cyber tech firm MetaCompliance

Having successfully grown and sold a number of technology firms in the past, Robert is an excellent example of a modern entrepreneur, and his achievements have been recognised by the recent award win.

The ACQ5 Global Awards recognise the most outstanding organisations and professionals across the globe and celebrates the best in achievement, ability and performance.

MetaCompliance has been developing software and content for the Cyber Security and Compliance market since 2005 and is experiencing a phenomenal phase of growth as worldwide demand for its products increases.

The massive growth in cyber-crime has meant that cyber security and compliance have now become key priorities for organisations as they realise the massive implications that a data breach can have on their business.

MetaCompliance has created a product range that directly addresses the specific challenges that arise from cyber threats and corporate governance, and the company has helped over 600 organisations around the world stay cyber secure and compliant.

Clients of the company include BUPA, ITN, Jaguar LandRover, Vodafone, Volkswagen, ESB, Schroeders, Dentons, Top Oil, Jamie Oliver Ltd and one of the largest Banks in the world, with a network of over 360,000 staff in 172 countries.

Robert has been instrumental in driving the business forward and ensuring the company remains at the forefront of innovation.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the IT industry, Robert is a serial technology entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in executing and developing strategies for high growth businesses.

Robert commented on the award win and the plans for the business going forward: “I’m delighted to win the UK Gamechanger of the Year Award, it’s a real buzz!

“Our purpose is to help organisations keep their staff safe online and protect their brand and reputation.

“As disrupters in our industry, we recognise that Cyber Security is hard for ordinary people and we are relentless in our vision of making this palatable, whilst ensuring people are equipped with the skills to protect themselves online.”

The award win continues the winning streak for the company after it recently won the award for the Most Innovative Cyber Security eLearning solutions, by Corporate Vision Magazine.

To support its continued growth, the company recently announced a major recruitment drive of 30 graduates for its Derry office and is still welcoming applications across all disciplines including software development, software testing, sales, marketing, HR, support, design and motion graphics.

FinTrU to create over 600 new jobs in Belfast and Londonderry as part of £38m expansion

Invest Northern Ireland’s Chief Executive, Alastair Hamilton has announced that 605 new jobs are to be created by multi-award winning financial services firm FinTrU over the next five years.

This significant expansion by FinTrU will see it establish a new operation in Derry with 305 new jobs and create a further 300 new roles in Belfast.

L-R Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI and Darragh McCarthy, CEO of FinTrU

L-R Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI and Darragh McCarthy, CEO of FinTrU

Welcoming the major investment, Alastair Hamilton said: “Today’s announcement is another significant re-investment by FinTrU which will create over 600 new jobs for graduates and professionals in the Financial Services industry.

“We are delighted to have played such a significant role in the company’s rapid growth to date. The new jobs to be recruited over the next five years will generate over £15million in additional annual salaries for the local economy.

Invest NI has offered £3.2million of support for the new jobs and the Department for the Economy has offered £2.4million of support through its Assured Skills Programme.

“The company will create 305 of the new jobs in Derry which is a great endorsement of the wealth of talent in the North West. This investment will also make a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s flourishing Financial Services sector and will deliver a projected £20million in additional new export sales for the company.” continued Alastair.

FinTrU provides regulatory resourcing services, including legal, risk, compliance, KYC, operations and consultancy, to Investment Banks and other financial institutions. It established its Belfast centre of excellence in 2014, with initial plans to recruit 80 staff and has since grown successfully to now employing over 240 staff.

Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU Founder and CEO said: “Our current operation in Belfast has been hugely successful which has been driven by the exceptional talent we have been able to recruit in Northern Ireland. FinTrU has won two ‘Fast Growth Business of the Year’ awards in 2018 and we are delighted to continue our expansion in other areas of Northern Ireland.

After reviewing a number of locations, I had no hesitation about expanding our presence into the North West due to the highly attractive location and the availability of talent that the region offers. Whilst managed as a profit-driven organisation, I see FinTrU as having a social purpose to create high-quality professional employment in Northern Ireland.

“After reviewing a number of locations, I had no hesitation about expanding our presence into the North West due to the highly attractive location and the availability of talent that the region offers. Whilst managed as a profit-driven organisation, I see FinTrU as having a social purpose to create high-quality professional employment in Northern Ireland.”

Darragh, who is a finalist in this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, added: “Our partnership over the last few years with Invest NI has been invaluable to our growth. We are also working with the Department for the Economy through its Assured Skills Programme, Belfast Metropolitan College and the North West Regional College to establish a Graduate Academy which will result in a considerable investment in training for our new employees.”

Noel Lavery, Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy said: “Since 2014 we have worked with FinTrU helping them recruit the talent they need to grow their business through the Department’s pre-employment skills training programme, ‘Assured Skills’.

“175 of the current FinTrU staff complement are former Assured Skills Academy graduates, highlighting the impressive talent we have in Northern Ireland. It is planned that, over the next 5 years,500 of the 605 jobs announced today will be delivered through a series of future Assured Skills Academies, providing high quality employment opportunities for graduates in the growing financial services sector.”

MANUFACTURING LOCALLY, SELLING GLOBALLY CREATES MORE JOBS AT FLEMING AGRI

Fleming Agri Products is a fifth generation family business manufacturing a range of agricultural and grounds-care machinery at their factory in Newbuildings. With almost 90% of production exported outside Northern Ireland, the company see a solid future in the viability of engineering and manufacturing in the North West region.

t4_75_powerstar_13_021_c
Approximately 12,000 machines came off the production line in 2017 and were shipped to an extensive network of dealers and importers worldwide. Fleming’s have put a dedicated Export Manager in place in 2016 and have been growing and developing new export markets in France,
Denmark, Latvia, Spain, Slovakia, UAE, Australia, New Zealand, and most recently the USA and Russia.

The Fleming factory has been operating a two shift pattern up to the start of 2018, but
due to increased demand from both the domestic and export markets for Fleming products, the workforce has had to be increased to create a third shift. This has created 10 further new job roles initially with further growth in employment as this new shift develops and increases the production output.

Plans for a new 25,000 sq. ft. factory extension are currently being put together to
streamline the production flow and create capacity and capability for new products
designed and developed in recent years to come online. Currently Fleming’s employ 110 staff and the proposed new expansion will create a further 25 new positions at their base in Newbuildings.
For further details and employment opportunities with Fleming Agri Products please see; www.fleming-agri.co.uk