A £35m investment at Seagate’s Derry plant has been described as a vote of confidence in the workforce by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Mr McGuinness was speaking as he announced the major new research and development project alongside First Minister Peter Robinson at the Derry plant yesterday.
The Seagate announcement will result in 35 new specialist engineering jobs on salaries of around £35,000 a year
The project will involve the development of cutting-edge, heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology, and will require an overall team of 178 highly qualified staff, most of whom will come from within the current staffing pool.
Seagate opened in Derry in 1993 and is currently the city’s largest private sector employer, employing over 1,300 people.
The Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “This is a tremendous day for Derry. Seagate operates in an environment where the pace of innovation is relentless and this investment signals the company is confident Derry and the north west is capable of meeting the considerable challenges.
“Whether it is advances in cloud computing, big data or the next big thing in technology, this site at Springtown will be an important element of Seagate’s future.”
Invest NI has offered £7.8million of assistance towards the new project, and this is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Mr Robinson said: “Today’s announcement is the largest research and development investment this year accounting for over 40% of Northern Ireland’s target for 2014.”
David Mosley, Seagate’s President of Operations and Technology, meanwhile said: “This R&D project will see the Springtown R&D team, supported by Ansin at Queen’s University Belfast, apply its expertise to the task of developing HAMR technology and help the company achieve competitive advantage.”
Welcoming the announcement, local Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sinead McLaughlin said:
“These latest jobs are highly skilled and well paid. This emphasises the reality that Derry must focus increasingly on providing the right skills for the new technology-based economy.
“We need to produce far more high value skills. This requires the expansion of local university provision.
“Other education providers must also take the demands for high value skills into account in their work programmes - as, indeed, many are doing.”