Around 200 new jobs are being created in Belfast by the American manufacturing giant Caterpillar, the company announced yesterday.
The high quality shared services positions are being created as part of an expansion of the firm’s existing Shared Services Centre, based in Millennium Way in the west of the city.
The expansion is being supported by Invest NI to the tune of £1.275 million.
The announcement was welcomed by the Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry.
Mrs Foster described it as “very positive” at a time of increasing competitiveness in global markets.
“Last year, Invest NI’s Alastair Hamilton and I travelled to the US and met with Caterpillar senior management to specifically discuss the company’s future plans in Northern Ireland. This investment project was discussed as part of that meeting. Since, then the team at Invest NI has worked tirelessly to secure the shared services positions for Northern Ireland and ensure that they were not lost to other potential locations in Europe.”
Caterpillar produces construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company established a base in Northern Ireland following its acquisition of local engineering firm FG Wilson in 1999.
This latest investment comes just months after FG Wilson axed 760 jobs and said it was transferring production of about 70 per cent of its small generator sets to China.
In January the FG Wilson plants in Newtownabbey, Belfast and Larne were re-branded as Caterpillar (Northern Ireland).
Robert Kennedy, Caterpillar Northern Ireland operations director said: “As a global company, Caterpillar has to regularly evaluate key areas of business in order to remain internationally competitive.
“With the support from Invest NI and the government departments as well as the availability of key, essential skills in the professional shared services area, we are pleased to announce Northern Ireland as the location of choice for this expansion of services.”
Employment Minister Dr Stephen Farry, whose Department has offered training support of £440,000 under its Assured Skills programme said the investment was a boost.
Dr Farry said: “This investment by Caterpillar demonstrates confidence in our local skills base and will offer important employment and training opportunities in a variety of key business areas including finance and human resources. The flexibility that my Department’s Assured Skills programme offers to companies like Caterpillar gives Northern Ireland an edge when competing with other regions. Assured Skills funding will ensure that the company has the support necessary for essential training initiatives and skills development activities.”