Belfast Telegraph

Employment Minister Stephen Farry backs skills initiative TWO

By Donna Deeney

Minister backs skills initiative TWO Londonderry-based companies which took advantage of a government programme to boost their businesses are an example that others should follow, according to the Minister of Employment and Learning.

Stephen Farry visited Seagate Technology and Hunter Apparel Solutions yesterday – companies which have both availed of his department's Skills Solutions Service.

The programme, which offers a single point of contact for employers, provides employers with access to all the department's learning and skills services so that the company can meet its training needs.

Hunter Apparel Solutions Ltd designs, develops and manufactures uniform and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) clothing.

It is now the sole supplier of uniforms to 67,000 staff in the Health Service in Northern Ireland and also supplies technical work-wear to major UK Fire Service clients such as London Fire Brigade.

During a visit to Hunter Apparel Solutions, the minister opened its new warehouse extension and officially launched its new enhanced Huntercare website.

He said: "This is another example of a Northern Ireland company investing in its future to sustain employment. This is a company already using my department's services and programmes successfully, specifically the Skills Solutions Service, to access relevant and tailored training in specialist graphic design training and embroidery machine maintenance which enhances the company's in-house capabilities."

Mr Farry was also given a tour of Seagate Technology, which has been in operation in Derry since 1993, manufacturing data storage devices for enterprise, desktop, mobile computing, consumer electronics and retail markets.

Encouraging other businesses to follow suit, the minister said: "My department's Skills Solutions Service will help employers understand and access the training provision which is available and is crucial to growing the skills which modern business needs.

"Well trained and knowledgeable Skills Solutions advisers are available to meet with any employer on a one-to-one basis anywhere in Northern Ireland. I want to take this opportunity therefore to encourage employers to contact my department and find out what support, both financial and non-financial, is available to help them develop the skills of their workforce."

FACTFILE

Hunter Apparel Solutions designs, develops and manufactures uniforms and PPE clothing. It is the sole supplier of uniforms to 67,000 staff in the Health Service and also a supplier of technical work-wear to major UK Fire Service clients.

Seagate manufactures hard drives at its Springtown factory, employing nearly 1,400 people. Around 25% of the world's recording heads are produced at the plant.

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