Components firm takes on Michelin staff as it pushes into new sectors
A Co Antrim firm that makes parts for aircraft interiors has taken on eight new staff - including four people made redundant from manufacturing giant Michelin.
The former employees from the tyre maker, which is shutting down after nearly 50 years in Ballymena, have now taken up work at IPC Mouldings.
The family company in Carrickfergus employs around 25 people making interiors such as arms and table trays for aircraft seating - but has moved into manufacturing polymers for medical use. It's now hoping to diversify into new sectors.
And it's benefiting from nearly £100,000 in funding from economic development agency Invest NI.
Managing director Joanne Liddle said: "IPC is a successful and well established performance-driven company working within highly regulated industries.
"As we continue to grow and diversify we continue to invest in our people and advanced technology."
French-owned Michelin announced in 2015 that it would close its Ballymena factory by 2018, with fears that many of those losing their jobs would be unable to find further employment in manufacturing.
But Ms Liddle said: "We are delighted that the first four of our new employees are coming from Michelin in Ballymena. These are highly motivated, well trained individuals with some excellent transferrable skills who are very employable.
"We have implemented in-house training programmes so that they can get up to speed with IPC manufacturing processes as soon as possible."
IPC Mouldings is one of the few UK companies to achieve an SC21 Silver Award - a form of special recognition for successful aerospace-related manufacturers.
Ms Liddle added: "It is an exciting time for the business and with the continued commitment and focus of our staff we are confident that we will meet, and hopefully exceed our growth ambitions."
The company has also invested in new technology and new IT.
Bill Montgomery of Invest NI said: "IPC has an excellent record of export sales in the aircraft interiors market and contributes to Northern Ireland's reputation for manufacturing excellence in the global aerospace sector.
"Additionally, securing new business in the medical sector will help the company in another fast growing industry."
IPC Mouldings was set up in 1994 as Industrial Precision Components.