300 jobs on the way as manufacturing enjoys £22m investment

Alastair Hamilton and Stephen Kelly, centre, with, from left, David Nicholl, NC Engineering, Alan Stewart, Marcon Fit-Out, Dave Smith, Principal Cooling, Joe McGirr, BoatYard Distillery, Ross Armstrong, Armstrong Medical
Alastair Hamilton and Stephen Kelly, centre, with, from left, David Nicholl, NC Engineering, Alan Stewart, Marcon Fit-Out, Dave Smith, Principal Cooling, Joe McGirr, BoatYard Distillery, Ross Armstrong, Armstrong Medical

The manufacturing sector across the province is set to create close to 300 jobs as 30 companies have confirmed plans to invest a total of £22 million.

The funding package which is backed by Invest Northern Ireland was announced at a special event to highlight the agency’s commitment to local industry.

CEO Alastair Hamilton said Invest was determined to help indigenous firms as well as companies setting up from abroad.

The move also counters claims that businesses have been holding back on invesment amid concerns about the impact of leaving the EU and the form it will take.

The 30 firms involved represent a broad range of disciplines: food to chemicals, pharmaceutical to transport equipment.

“Today’s event is an opportunity to highlight some of the investments manufacturing focused businesses are making,” said Mr Hamilton.

“The local firms we have here today are from right across Northern Ireland.

“With £1.9m of support from Invest NI they are making a combined investment of over £22m in our economy. As well as stimulating economic growth there are also new job opportunities, with 282 new jobs being created, which will generate over £6.3m annually in additional salaries for the local economy.”

Manufacturing plays a significant part in the local economy with the latest HMRC 12 month rolling figures valuing exports at just over £8bn.

“These investments show real commitment from businesses to invest in the future,” said Mr Hamilton.

“With investment in new equipment, skills and training, new jobs and export development, it is clear that there is real opportunity for growth in manufacturing.”

Stating that the sector generated annual sales approaching £20bn, and employed 80,000 directly, Manufacturing NI chief executive Stephen Kelly said it played a huge role in supporting production and employment in a wider supply chain and “creating jobs and strong communities in every constituency across Northern Ireland”.

“SMEs make up 98% of all businesses here in Northern Ireland and are at the very heart of what we do in our manufacturing base.

“Week in, week out, companies like this continue to work very hard to keep moving forward, to build and grow our business economy and build communities.

“It is encouraging to see the progress and developments being made by firms across all disciplines. Invest NI is offering valuable support to enable these businesses to create highly skilled, well paid jobs and drive innovation and growth in export markets.”