7th MAY 2020 - Page 7

Pro fide et patria
Great news
for economy
HE announcement of 400 new jobs by PA
Consulting yesterday can be seen as a vote
of confidence in the Northern Ireland workforce and a positive reflection of our education system which is providing the skills sought by
the technology sector.
The decision to open a digital development centre
in Belfast offering jobs which are expected to pay
an average of £35,000 a year, is a tremendous boost
to the local economy and comes in spite of the fact
that the Stormont administration has been in limbo
for a year and a half.
This firm is a leading global innovation and transformation consultancy with over 2,600 specialists
worldwide in the areas of software engineering, data
analytics and security.
According to Anita Chandraker, global head of innovation services, the business thought long and
hard about where the best place was for their next
phase of expansion and considered factors such as
the talent pool, the current technology sector, salaries, education, universities and infrastructure.
These factors, combined with the offer of government support, made Northern Ireland ‘the logical
There is no doubt the financial support – nearly £4
million – is substantial but Secretary of State Karen
Bradley has pointed to the £14.5 million in wages
that will be generated annually once the project is
fully established.
The Department for the Economy will also be running skills academies for 155 of the 400 jobs.
This type of programme is particularly valuable
to employers as it provides candidates with training
specifically tailored to the positions available.
There is no doubt that Northern Ireland has a lot
to offer global companies in the digital sector. We
have also seen legal and financial companies expanding and recruiting. This is clearly great news for
young people, particularly graduates in these indemand fields. High employment rates and well-paid
jobs benefit the entire economy.
It is just a pity we don’t have a fully functioning
government in place to capitalise on the investment
opportunities that are currently available.
Symbol of hope
HE survival virtually unscathed of two trees
directly in front of Belfast’s historic Bank
Buildings, after it was gutted in a massive fire
last week, was bordering on the miraculous.
A full cordon remains in place around the landmark five-storey development, which has been left
as a burnt-out shell, as detailed discussions take
place over plans for the future of the flagship Primark outlet. As we reported yesterday, Ulster Unionist councillor Chris McGimpsey has suggested that
the pair of trees should be relocated to the grounds
of the nearby city hall as a “symbol of hope”.
This is an entirely appropriate proposal as it sums
up the way in which the commercial heart of Belfast
is attempting to recover from a major setback during which it was extremely fortunate that no lives
were lost.
Prints of Ian Knox cartoons are available to buy from £15 at shop.irishnews.com
DUP opening door
to a united Ireland
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The findings illustrate that the
DUP’s stupidity in blocking an
accommodation on the border
and supporting leaving the
customs union and the single
market has produced the
opposite of their political aims


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