Belfast Telegraph

Jobs boost as Capita reveals plan to create 336 posts

By Clare Weir

The beleaguered Northern Ireland economy was given a boost yesterday with the announcement of over 330 new jobs at an outsourcing company.

Capita has announced that it will quadruple current employee numbers by creating 336 posts over the next four years.

The firm has operated an office at Clarendon Dock, in Belfast for the last five years and services global companies such as Prudential, MetLife and Aviva.

The news comes just 18 months after the company shed almost 100 posts.

Invest NI has offered an additional £1m in support of the expansion, which it is claimed will boost the economy here by £5m annually.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said that the Capita job creation is the first to be announced under the Invest Northern Ireland's Short-Term Employment Scheme.

The project was established earlier this year in a bid to stimulate job creation in the face of the global financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn.

The scheme aims to create 4,000 jobs by 2014.

Anne Marie McGoldrick, operations director for life and pensions in Capita, said that the firm has forecast sales growth in Northern Ireland over the next three years.

“In order to facilitate that growth, we will need to quadruple our employee numbers,” she|said.

“Capita's very positive experience in Belfast to date, the competitive cost base of the Belfast operation together with Invest NI's support and the availability of suitable staff in the marketplace all combine to make upscaling our operations here a very attractive and viable strategy.”

In March 2010, it was announced that 84 life and pensions workers in Belfast were to lose their jobs. But this week Minister Foster said that things are now back on the up.

“These new jobs are very welcome in the current economic climate,” she said.

“The expansion will also open up new jobs to returners to work, people who are keen to develop valuable transferable skills and those who are seeking to get on the employment ladder for the first time.

“Invest NI has identified the business and financial services sectors as key drivers for growth in our economy and has worked hard to secure this project for Northern Ireland against competition from lower cost economies,” she added.

The minister also said that she has secured a £19m ring-fenced budget allocation to allow for a range of measures to be implemented under the Short-Term Employment Scheme.

“The scheme is a direct response by the Executive to the economic downturn and recognises the need to take action to alleviate the impact of the recession on the local labour market,” she said.

Background

The Capita Group Plc is the largest business process outsourcing company in the UK and has clients in central government, local government and the private sector. It also has a property and infrastructure consultancy division.

Roughly half of its turnover comes from the private sector and half from the public sector.

The company has a base at Clarendon Dock in north Belfast.

The firm has 45,000 people at more than 350 sites, including 64 business centres across the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and India. Revenues for the company in 2010 were listed at £2,744m.

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