7th MAY 2020 - Page 17

Business INsight
Forum formed to ensure Belfast’s economy continues to grow
Gary McDonald
Business Editor
A NEW body has been
created to identify and address broad strategic issues
affecting Belfast and to help
ensure the city’s economy
continues to grow.
Belfast City Centre
Management (BCCM) has
launched a City Strategic
Forum, a partnership of
representatives from business sectors and organisations, who will respond to
emerging issues and also
act as a channel for the
business community to
influence both central and
local government to support the sustainable growth
of the city.
Andrew Webb, chair of
BCCM, said: “Belfast remains the economic engine
for Northern Ireland, and
the future strength and
vibrancy of its economy is
vital to the region’s
“The City Strategic Forum
is a mechanism to identify
broader strategic issues and
ensure Belfast is optimally
positioned to realise its ambitions, and that its resourc-
n ENCOURAGING STRATEGIC DECISIONS: Mark O’Donnell, director at the Department for
Communities, left, with Geraldine Duggan, city centre manager, Lisa Toland, head of economic
initiatives and international development at Belfast City Council and Andrew Webb, chair of Belfast City
Centre Management
es and priorities are aligned
with the overarching vision
for the city through the
Belfast Agenda and with
Northern Ireland’s Programme for Government.
This in turn will safeguard
economic growth in the
city which will continue to
make a vital contribution to
the wider economy.”
He added: “Challenges for
the city abound, including
the recent Bank Buildings
fire, the changing face of
the high street and the unfolding drama that is Brexit.
“Businesses continue to
operate in the midst of
increasing uncertainty on
a deal or no deal scenario.
They are a long way from
being Brexit-ready as uncertainty continues on what
the costs are or what the
implications will impose.
“The skills, insight and
expertise of the members
of the City Strategic Forum,
alongside other strategic
partners, will continue to
influence and encourage
strategic decisions for the
benefit of the city and
support its business community.”
Membership of the forum
has been drawn initially
from previous board
members of Belfast City
Centre Management Ltd,
and creating the new body
is part of the transition
towards a more
commercial model involving a new governance
To deliver this BCCM is
currently undertaking a
recruitment drive for new
board members.
Closing date for
applications is Monday
February 11. For more
information go to www.
Jobs market remains healthy
despite Brexit uncertainty
Gareth McKeown
HE north’s job market remains resilient, despite ongoing
and continued lack of a local
government, a new survey
has revealed
According to the latest NIJobs.com report with Ulster
Bank, job creation remains
healthy with 2 per cent annual growth recorded.
The data, which highlights
trends for both employers
and employees across 32
categories, further shows
that roles advertised by
companies increased by 15
per cent overall in the last 12
This was boosted heavily by
the IT and construction sectors, which saw an increase
in advertised roles of 104 per
cent and 59 per cent respectively over the year.
Record highs were also noted in the areas of science,
agricultural, pharmaceutical
and food as well as big data
and analytics.
Looking beyond the relatively positive figures, Sam
McIlveen, general manager
of NIJobs.com, believes businesses must be prepared for
every Brexit eventuality.
The UK is due to officially
leave the EU on March 29.
“The current lack of clarity
n RESILIENT MARKET: According to the latest NIJobs.com report with Ulster Bank, job creation remains
healthy with 2 per cent annual growth recorded
coupled with ongoing skills
shortages particularly in the
IT sector creates a challenge
for Northern Ireland firms so
it is vital that companies are
planning effectively whatever
the Brexit outcome. Companies must continue to invest
in attracting good people effectively and quickly to support their long-term business
goals,” Mr McIlveen said.
“We’re not expecting a Brexit
‘Big Bang’ in April, we believe
we’ll see the market adjust to
the new trading arrangements
with the EU and there will no
doubt be winners and losers
in the new dispensation.”
Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey believes
2019 will be a more challenging year for the local jobs
market, citing Brexit and a
global economic slowdown as
key factors.
“Some sectors will be more
exposed to these two issues
than others will,” Mr Ramsey
“One of the most ‘Brexit-proof’ sectors has been
IT. It continues to go from
strength-to-strength with job
vacancies more than doubling over the last year to a
fresh record high. IT listings
now account for more than
one-in-seven of all job vacancies. Allied to IT is the growing niche area that is big data
and analytics. These sectors
are expected to continue on
their growth trajectory and
are worth watching this year.
Filling these vacancies will be
a challenge though with growing skills shortages in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and
the Republic of Ireland making retaining talent a priority
in 2019.
“The global slowdown is
likely to dampen economic
prospects in 2019. That said,
ongoing skills shortages coupled with the need to replace
EU-27 nationals leaving these
shores, should provide a significant source of employment opportunities in 2019,”
he added.
Kiverco wins
first export
contract in
Gareth McKeown
CO TYRONE recycling
firm has won its first
export contract in
Dungannon-based Kiverco
has secured a six-figure deal,
which will see its mobile
recycling plant used to help
recover post-earthquake
rubble in Umbria, central
A powerful earthquake
measuring 6.2 magnitude hit
the Umbria region in August
2016, killing nearly 300
Now more than two years
on a local authority has
purchased the Gortnaglough
Road company’s mobile
equipment to help recycle
the debris and use it for civil
engineering works in the
affected towns and villages
Kiverco managing director,
Anne McKiver explained that
the latest deal is part of the
company’s ongoing plans for
international growth.
“We are constantly looking
for business opportunities
across the globe for our
equipment. Invest NI’s trade
team has supported us to
make several export market
visits to Italy where we are
“We are constantly
looking for business
opportunities across the
globe for our equipment”
Anne McKiver
now growing our business.
It is now producing results
with our first sale in Italy,”
she said.
Alison Gowdy, Invest NI
trade director, said they are
delighted to continue its
support of the Co Tyrone
“Developing new export
markets takes time and
investment. We have
supported Kiverco to build
its export activities through
support to exhibit at large
European trade shows,
access to translation services
and help with export market
visits,” she said.
“The Italian market was
completely new to this
company and I am delighted
that the work put in to access
this market is now paying
Kiverco consults, designs,
manufactures and builds
recycling plants for
businesses in the waste
processing industry.
Alison Gowdy, director of Trade
at Invest NI, with Anne McKiver,
managing director of Kiverco


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