Manufacturer creates 200 new jobs

12 February 2013
By Sofia Mitra-Thakur
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Caterpillar machinery

Caterpillar machinery

Manufacturing giant Caterpillar is to create 200 new jobs in Belfast, the company has confirmed.

The high quality shared services positions will be based at its plant in the west of the city.

Invest Northern Ireland is to contribute £1.275m towards the jobs boost.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster described the announcement as good news and said it showed confidence in Northern Ireland.

Foster said: "Last year, Invest Northern Ireland'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, which produces construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives, has had a presence in Northern Ireland since 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."

Creation of the new jobs have also been welcomed by Employment Minister Stephen Farry whose department has offered training support of £440,000 under its Assured Skills programme.

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."

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