25/02/2009

Jobs Boost For NI As Gem Expands

There was some good news this week as NI Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster welcomed a substantial number of new jobs in an established call centre organisation.

Gem, which currently employs 1,000 people, will fill an anticipated 900 new posts by 2012.

The company already provides a range of multi-channel, multi-lingual support services across three existing sites - Lanyon Place and East Bridge Street in Belfast and at Claremont International Business Centre in Londonderry.

But the additional jobs, aided by a £5.5m contribution from Invest NI, are to be created in other locations.

The move is expected to generate £14m in annual salaries with Invest NI offering £5.5m of support toward the investment.

Welcoming the announcement, the Minister said: "Once again, this region's cost competitiveness and strong talent pool has resulted in a major investment by an internationally successful firm.

"Gem will provide career progression opportunities coupled with the further development of professional, transferable skills.
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"This is a great boost for NI at a time where the global economy continues to impact on local businesses and when many companies are deferring investment plans.

"It will see gem double its workforce to 1,800 and competitively position the company as it prepares to take full advantage of global opportunities as they arise," she said.

Meanwhile, NI Employment Minister, Sir Reg Empey, separately announced that people participating in government employment and training programmes will soon be eligible for higher levels of assistance towards childcare costs.

This new initiative comes into effect in April and will be made available to lone parents and partners of certain benefit claimants participating on the Department for Employment and Learning's Steps to Work, Training for Success and Pathways to Work Preparation programmes.

The Minister said: "Assistance towards the cost of childcare is an important factor in many lone parents and partners decisions to take part in employment and training programmes.

"This increase in the level of assistance will greatly help those with childcare responsibilities to join programmes such as Steps to Work, which will provide participants with the skills to find and sustain employment."

(BMcC/JM)

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