Belfast Telegraph

Security company hub will employ 38

By Heather McGarrigle

A total of 38 jobs have been created with the arrival of a multi-million pound security hub, which was officially unveiled in Craigavon this week.

MITIE, a FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing and energy services company, has invested more than £2m in creating the MiTec centre.

Ruby McGregor-Smith, chief executive officer of MITIE, told the Belfast Telegraph she envisaged staff numbers at the site would "certainly double or even triple" over the next three years as her company pursues growth.

Work began on the high-tech building in September 2010 in partnership with Invest NI, and the hub will go fully live in May.

From state-of-the-art computer 'pods' in the centre, operators can oversee and manage 24-hour remote monitoring of the sites and buildings of clients from all across the UK.

At the opening, Ms McGregor-Smith spoke of how the idea for a national security centre was conceived two years ago.

She said: "To see it coming together in the MiTec centre is one of the proudest moments of my career. We have been investing during a recession, unlike other companies, but this was simply too important not to invest in."

The company's chief said it took just six months to settle on Northern Ireland as the chosen location for the facility.

"We looked at a number of facilities across the UK, but our work with Invest NI persuaded us that the project could be completed to schedule in Craigavon and receive the right help and support.

"It provided financial support but more than that, a huge amount of local know-how of the local skills base and supply chain that has been invaluable."

Ms McGregor-Smith said her team have worked alongside Northern Ireland construction and technology firms to create the high-tech centre.

She admitted a lower rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland would have been an added draw. But the employee skill level and the support available in Northern Ireland far outweighed tax benefits of locating the MiTec hub in the Republic.

"You don't put something like this together in a year and a half without excellent people," added Ms McGregor-Smith.

"We have some graduates working in the technical roles and we eventually want to create an apprenticeship programme for IT and technology graduates here."