800 call centre jobs set to stop drain of young talent from Northern Ireland
Fermanagh's biggest job announcement in 12 years could stop a generation of talented young people from the county moving east in search of work, it has been claimed.
Malachy McAleer, director of South Western College (SWC), said the announcement of 800 new jobs over the next three years at call centre Teleperformance in Enniskillen was "tremendous" news for the Enniskillen area.
The jobs will pay an average of £14,700 and are backed by £2.5m from Invest NI and just under £250,000 from the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL).
Mr McAleer said he hoped the job creation would stop his students relocating to Belfast, London or further afield to find a job.
He added that the college would try to work with the international firm Teleperformance to ensure the right training was provided.
He said: "We will be putting our best foot forward to ensure that the young people are trained and retrained to take advantage of these jobs.
"We have the highest-achieving young people in Northern Ireland in terms of results, but many of them are having to go away to secure employment elsewhere. Hopefully, this will be the turning point."
The region beat off "stiff international competition" to land the 800 jobs, Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry said.
Invest NI's backing for the investment includes a £2.4m employment grant and £117,842 through the Skills Growth Programme.
A total of £3,750 was invested for each of the 800 jobs.
Finance Minister Arlene Foster said: "This was a highly mobile project. Indeed, there was stiff competition with other international locations for this new establishment. However, thanks to the positive experience the company has had here to date, combined with the efforts of Invest NI and DEL, we have been able to secure the project for Northern Ireland."
Dr Farry added: "Since Teleperformance opened its first operation in Bangor in 1998, it has built up a strong reputation for developing and delivering consistent, quality customer service experiences, which is made possible by the skills on offer in Northern Ireland." Teleperformance is part of the Teleperformance Group, which has a workforce of over 182,000 across 270 contact centres in 62 countries, the largest network of contact centres in the world.
Alistair Niederer, CEO for Teleperformance UK, Ireland and South Africa, said: "We see the commitment of our staff and the superior service they are able to provide as an important part of our competitive advantage.
"People considering applying for the new jobs here in Enniskillen should be assured of our commitment to provide training and a stimulating and motivational place to work.
"The support we have had from Invest NI and DEL, not only on this project but in general, has been extremely important to our continued success here."
He added: "We look forward to working with the local community to make this new centre in Enniskillen a real success." Teleperformance's UK clients include HM Passport Service, NHS Blood Transplant, Renault UK, Natwest Bank and Sainsbury's.
It manages programmes in 75 languages and dialects on behalf of major international companies operating in a wide variety of industries.
This week, France's Teleperformance also announced it will open a contact centre in Lithuania creating more than 2,000 jobs.
The number of new call centre jobs in Enniskillen in the next three years