THE smiles hide a deepening political gulf in their relationships.
But First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness put aside their political differences to announce that Deloitte is further expanding its Belfast practice, creating 338 high quality jobs.
It came after Mr Robinson warned in a newspaper article that the Stormont government was “not fit for purpose”.
The new positions will be available across a range of services including technology, pensions and actuarial consulting, and finance.
The First Minister Peter Robinson said: “I very much welcome that Deloitte continues to expand its operations in Northern Ireland with the announcement of a further 338 new jobs at its Belfast Delivery Centre.
“It is testament to the quality of the Northern Ireland workforce and the confidence that Deloitte has in Northern Ireland that this internationally renowned company has decided to not only expand once, but twice here.
“It is tremendous news that this further expansion by Deloitte will increase overall employment in Deloitte Belfast across all services to over 700 by 2019.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “This announcement of new jobs in Deloitte will make a significant contribution to the local economy worth over £11million annually. These jobs will pay above the local private sector average providing a considerable injection into the local economy and creating opportunities for experienced professionals, graduates and school leavers.
“This expansion by Deloitte is a strong endorsement we are an ideal location for people to operate their business from. These jobs demonstrate Deloitte’s confidence that the north of Ireland is the best place to grow this sector of their business and is recognition of the hard work, dedication, skills and expertise of our workforce.”
Deloitte delivers professional business services such as consulting, tax, audit and corporate finance, to local, UK and wider European markets. Invest Northern Ireland has offered over £2.5million of assistance for the jobs and associated training.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: “At a sector level, IT and financial services are priority knowledge-based industries for Northern Ireland and attracting mobile international investment is a core pillar of the growth strategy for them. This significant investment, which could have gone to another country, is a further demonstration of the advantages that international companies recognise are available in Northern Ireland.”
The Department for Employment and Learning has offered over £800,000 of support under its Assured Skills programme for pre-employment training for 60 people.
Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry said: “Companies like Deloitte are the key drivers of the economic growth in Northern Ireland, and today’s job announcement further demonstrates the quality of our workforce and why Northern Ireland is such an attractive place to invest. Building on my Department’s track record with Deloitte we are currently delivering the second cohort of the Data Analytics Academy and plan to deliver additional training academies shortly. The work of my Department is strengthening the talents of our local people to meet current and future skills needs. The Assured Skills programme guarantees that we have people trained and ‘job ready’, ensuring that the skills employers require are available to them in Northern Ireland.”
Jackie Henry, Senior Partner of Deloitte Belfast, said: “We’re very proud that Deloitte has chosen Belfast as its preferred investment location against intense competition from across the UK and wider global Firm. The Belfast Delivery Centre is now the firm’s UK centre of excellence for technology, pensions and actuarial consulting, finance and tax services.
“This expansion is part of our strategy to develop the Belfast Delivery Centre into a full-service delivery centre for our national and international client base, drawing on the excellent people coming out of our schools and colleges and serving companies from all over the world. These are high-value, quality jobs and we are delighted to have them in Northern Ireland.
“The excellent performance of the Belfast Technology Studio since it was set up in 2011, together with the support from government, made Northern Ireland stand out as the best place to grow this aspect of our business.”
The Technology Studio premises opened in the Gasworks in June 2014