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German IT specialist to create 37 new posts

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Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is joined by (l-r) Rob McConnell, SQS Marketing Director NI, Phil Codd, Managing Director of SQS Ireland and Rudolf van Megen, SQS CEO, at the jobs announcement

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is joined by (l-r) Rob McConnell, SQS Marketing Director NI, Phil Codd, Managing Director of SQS Ireland and Rudolf van Megen, SQS CEO, at the jobs announcement

Marie-Therese Hurson/Harrison Photography

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is joined by (l-r) Rob McConnell, SQS Marketing Director NI, Phil Codd, Managing Director of SQS Ireland and Rudolf van Megen, SQS CEO, at the jobs announcement

A German IT firm is creating almost 40 jobs in Belfast's Titanic Quarter after starting from employing just one person three years ago.

Software Quality Systems (SQS) is one of Europe's largest independent software testing firms for the banking, insurance and telecommunications sectors.

It will set up a 'centre of excellence' in the city, adding 37 posts to the existing team of 15 at the Northern Ireland Science Park.

The Northern Ireland SQS centre is part of SQS Group UK Ltd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of German firm SQS Group AG.

The jobs announcement coincided with a visit to Northern Ireland of German ambassador to the UK, Georg Boomgaarden.

Mr Boomgaarden said that the experience and skill of the Northern Ireland workforce had helped secure the new jobs.

"You have shown us that this can be a place to make a successful company on the basis of skills from the universities and education and from engineering and industry excellence."

Rudolf van Megen, chief executive of SQS, said the firm was Europe's largest independent software testing company and hinted that more announcements may be in the pipeline.

"We started 30 years ago with two people," he said.

"Now we employ 1700 across Europe, in 14 countries. We are committed to moving forwards, we have gone from two people, then up to ten or twelve, then 40 or 50 and so on.

We support 17 different industries and we look forward to extending SQS in Belfast to a bigger size in the next number of years."

Rob McConnell, SQS regional director in Northern Ireland was once the company's only employee in Belfast.

"We went from no people in Northern Ireland, to me, just three years ago and I predict we could again double the workforce in the next two years," he said.

Invest NI has offered assistance of £444,000 to help fund the company's expansion plans.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said Invest NI had a strategic focus on the information and communication technology sector.

"We always see small investments at first, then the quality of our people can be demonstrated and more opportunities arise and we see bigger investments and expansion - I hope that SQS will continue to grow in Belfast and Northern Ireland," she said.