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Fermanagh Jobs fair show local employers have plenty to offer

October 13, 2014 11:00 am
Fermanagh Herald Jobs Fair 2014

Myrtle Woodhouse gets some information from Leah Beattie and Ciara Balfour from Source Employment

SEVERAL hundred people were in attendance at the third annual Fermanagh Jobs and Careers Fair at the South West College on Friday.

The event was organised by the college  in association with the Fermanagh Herald and ‘Business in the Community’ (BITC).

Official figures show that there were over 600 at the event, visiting a range of exhibitors across the public and private sector.

HR Manager for the Fermanagh Herald (North West News Group), Julie Hetherington, explained: “The event provided a forum for employers and support services to raise their profile to the community and provided an opportunity for Fermanagh folk to approach employers in an informal setting to ask about current and future employment opportunities.
“Employers unanimously agreed the event was a success, and those who attended on the day gained access to information and support in the event of seeking a new job or employment opportunity.”

Adrian Cullen, group operations manager at Cooneen Group, was in attendance.

“We’re trying to find local talent,” he explained, “We have had had very good experiences over the past number of years trying to attract great local talent and we think it’s a fantastic opportunity to expose our company to the local area.
“We obviously want someone that’s motivated, someone that has done research on the company – anybody that has the knowledge and skills to drive themselves forward,” he added.

Kelly Gileece, HR at the Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell, felt it was important to recruit locally:

“We’re trying to make sure that the people who work for us are people who know the community, and can provide our guests with local experience.”

Lorraine Thompson, HR assistant Balcas, described the event as ‘crucial’.

“I think it’s been a very good day – there have been a lot of students who have put in a lot of preparation into coming along and asking for work placements,” she said.

“We have had a few people who have been actively looking for work.

“I think it’s crucial – I don’t think people always realise in the local area just how much industry there is and how much business is out there. For someone who is looking work, it gives them a snapshot of the full breadth of positions and jobs that are available.”

And, Caroline McCaffrey, HR manager with the Quinn Group explained: “We are delighted to see that there is still great talent and skills available in the Fermanagh area. It’s very important that businesses have jobs available and can retain the talent in the local area.”

She added: “It’s been very positive, with good people very keen to work.”

Opportunity knocks for Patrice at jobs fair

September 20, 2014 5:00 pm
Patrice - O2 Shop

Patrice from O2 Shop, Enniskillen

FOR Patrice Ryder, from Belleek, the decision to attend the Fermanagh jobs and careers fair last year at the South West College proved a positive one.

The 23-year-old who was unemployed at the time, attended the fair with friends and was surprised at the opportunities on offer.

At last year’s event, employers in attendance included Fermanagh District Council, Donnelly Motor Group, Quinn Group, Kerry Foods, Waterways Ireland, ASDA, PSNI, Lough Erne Resort, DEL, Grafton Recruitment and South West College among many other private and public sector bodies.

On October 2, a similar number of employers will convene for this year’s event.

The event is open to everyone and is for job seekers across all age groups including graduates, anyone wanting to return to work after a period of leave, anyone seeking a change of career, first time entrants to the job market or anyone who has taken early retirement and wants to return to work.

And, among those in attendance last year was Patrice, who had recently returned from Australia and was seeking employment.

“I had been unemployed at the time for quite a while. I’d just come back from Australia and I went to the jobs fair needing work – I hadn’t been to anything like it before,” she explained.

“I would have applied for jobs from the paper and things like that. I was with a few of my friends and a few opportunities came up for them as well.”

The opportunity came to work at O2 Enniskillen with owner of Dev Retail (Pizza Hut Delivery, Enniskillen and O2 Enniskillen), Declan Devlin, recruiting at the event.

Declan explained: “We’ve always been recruiting in the Fermanagh area so we thought it was a good opportunity. There was a lot of interest from other businesses and it was a good opportunity to bring everybody locally together at one time for a jobs fair.

“And we were lucky that Patrice came along because she was exactly what we were looking for at the time.”

Patrice went on: “I had worked in retail before. Declan was looking for people at the time, and I was happy that he’d took me on. I didn’t actually expect to get anything out of it.

“My role now is sales advisor – I meet and greet people, sit them down and speak them through things, it’s something I definitely enjoy.”

For those thinking of going to the jobs fair, Patrice added: “I’d say definitely go along – it’s a great opportunity to see what’s out there and what employers are looking for.”

The event on October 2 is free to attend and open to everyone seeking employment or employment related advice.

The Fermanagh jobs and careers fair is supported by ‘South West College’ and the ‘Fermanagh Herald,’ in partnership with ‘Business in the Community’.

Further details can be obtained from Fermanagh Herald, HR Manager, Julie Hetherington, hr@northwestnewsgroup.com , t:028 8241 5006. www.north-westjobs.com.

MLA has doubts over 65 proposed Forestry Service jobs for Fermanagh

September 18, 2014 11:00 am
Inishkeen House Enniskillen

The Department of Agriculture’s Inishkeen House in Enniskillen

A TOTAL OF 65 Forest Service jobs jobs will come to Fermanagh by June 2015 it has been confirmed, but one local MLA remains unconvinced on where the new staff will be accomodated.

Last week in Stormont Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill confirmed the proposed move of 65 jobs to Inishkeen House in Enniskillen was on track.

The issue of descentralisation within the Forest Service has been on the table for over two years and it remains the basis of much contention In February of this year local MLA Tom Elliott hit out at the ‘failure’ of the the Agricultural Department to relocate staff to Inishkeen House after the numbers scheduled for the move were scaled down by almost half from over 100.

He remains concerned by the process.

“Obviously I’m still very frustrated on two counts. The first one is that only 65 jobs are coming instead of the 100 meant to be coming. The second is how slow the process is. I think it is three years in May since it was announced first and still there is no significant progress. I’m not aware of them having secured any property either.

“I obviously welcome the news they’re going to come here and the jobs, but I think there needs to be more urgency, I think the department have dragged their heels on the matter.”

Mr Elliott also questioned the viability of Inishkeen House as the location for a further 65 positions and took issue with the Minister’s comment that the building can ‘potentially accommodate more staff’.

“Either it can or it can’t. Are they going to have it in Inishkeen House or not? I honestly don’t think they can accomodate more staff, Inishkeen House is fairly up to capacity in my mind unless you’re going to shed jobs somewhere else. It is very, very uncertain.”

Last week in Stormont local Sinn Fein MLA Phil Flanagan asked the minister for information on the date of the move and confirmation on the number of staff.

She confirmed: “The first phase of that work is complete, and it has been confirmed that Inishkeen House can potentially accommodate more staff. The indications are that, with an internal redesign, Forest Service headquarters staff could be accommodated there. I am very pleased with that, and I assure the member that we are on target and working very hard to be able to deliver the project and for staff to be there by June next year.”

“It is good to get good news here the odd time,” remarked Mr Flanagan.

The Minister said the move was ‘on target’ and added: “It is about making sure that staff feel comfortable with all the moves, so we have a significant lead-in time to allow all that to happen. It is all very positive stuff.”

Local UUP councillor Alex Baird, a retired civil servant, welcomed the possibility of further jobs being brought to Fermanagh.

“I certainly welcome the descentralisation of positions in the civil service and especially jobs coming to Fermanagh, particularly with the loss of jobs in the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency. As a retired civil servant I realise the benefits of people living in the county and working in the county.”

Hopes that new ‘shop’ can help create jobs in Enniskillen

September 9, 2014 2:00 pm

A relaxed Alex Baird

 

THE new ‘First Stop Shop’ launched in the Clinton Centre in Enniskillen has been given the thumbs up from Fermanagh District Council.

The service launched on Monday morning provides information, sign posting and support to local ‘start-up’ and established businesses, in order to facilitate the growth of their businesses and encourage take-up of the current help available from agencies such as Invest Northern Ireland and Intertrade Ireland.

Speaking at Monday night’s meeting of Fermanagh District Council UUP councillor Alex Baird called the service a “very interesting, innovative way of getting things going. It is great to see the Clinton Centre will be used positively.”

He commended all those involved in the project.

His views were echoed by Sinn Fein’s Thomas O’Reilly who called it a ‘landmark’ day.

He said the key to the success of the service now was for local businesses to take it up.

“There’s an awful lot of good advice and practical support, which will help business move forward and will help sustain business.”

In the long term the councillor hoped the success of the ‘First Stop Shop’ would ultimately provide indigenous jobs in the county.

“Jobs which are sorely needed, when you see the lack of investment from Invest NI and see the debacle of the roads infrastructure, which doesn’t help.”

He added: “This is very important and I would encourage as many businesses locally as possible to avail of this service to grow and prosper.”

Council chairman Bert Johnston welcomed the ‘First Stop Shop’ and said it was good to see businesses starting here and being given an opportunity to grow through this service.

35 jobs after £11m investment in Fermanagh’s Webtech

9:59 am

 

Webtech1

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster is pictured with Webtech (NI) Ltd Managing Director Nigel McSorley after announcing an £11 million investment which is expected to create 35 jobs at the Enniskillen-based packaging company.

AN £11million investment by Enniskillen packaging company Webtech NI Ltd is expected to create 35 jobs.

Webtech specialises in the production of labels for the European soft drinks industry and is the largest supplier of flexographic reel-fed labels to the United Kingdom and Ireland. It has a number of high profile customers including Coca-Cola, Schweppes, Nestle and all the major supermarkets. The company intends to increase its processing capacity and further build export sales through the investment.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “Webtech NI is a local company that has built up an international reputation based on delivering the highest standard of quality and service from its state-of-the-art production facility. The company has provided high quality sustainable manufacturing jobs in Enniskillen for many years, growing in size as it penetrated the Great Britain and European markets.

“This significant investment will underpin Webtech’s goal of increasing sales by £10million over the next four years, focusing on export growth in Europe and North Africa. It reflects the company’s commitment to Fermanagh and its excellent standing in the international marketplace.

“The new jobs will pay salaries well above the Northern Ireland private sector median and the new equipment will ensure that Webtech has the capacity and technology to retain its position as market leader.”

Webtech currently employs 120 people at its premises in Killyhevlin Industrial Estate, Enniskillen.

Latest: 20 new jobs for Fermanagh electrical company

August 28, 2014 3:07 pm
GR White 3

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster is pictured with Rodney and George White after announcing 20 new jobs at Fermanagh-based electrical contracting company, G R White & Son.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced 20 new jobs at G R White & Son based in Tempo.

The award winning electrical contracting company currently employs 35 people, providing a wide range of services. The new positions will include apprentice and qualified electricians, quantity surveyors and project planners.

Arlene Foster said: “The new jobs are a direct result of a decision by the company to focus on new opportunities in the Renewable Energy sector and the investment announced today will help to fuel future growth within current export markets.

“The expansion of G R White & Son will help create sustainable employment within the local Fermanagh area, as the new roles are for both apprenticeships and qualified employees. These jobs will suit people just starting out in their chosen careers as well as those looking to develop their current professional skills.

“G R White & Son is an example of the resilience, innovation and hard work which is characteristic of so many successful Northern Ireland family-run businesses. George White, Managing Director, and Rodney White, Operations Director, have seen persistent growth in the company over the last 40 years by continually targeting new opportunities.

“For Northern Ireland to prosper we must ensure that businesses are supported, new markets are explored and that companies are encouraged to compete by growing exports.”

Invest Northern Ireland has offered £42,000 of support for six of the 20 new positions which are being created within the company.

Rodney White, Operations Director of GR White, said: “We aim to grow our turnover substantially over the next two years and to increase the current market share of our business both in Ireland and the UK.

“The company has an extremely strong portfolio of completed projects in education, health, utility and public sector markets. With our expansion now underway, we plan to grow this further by adding a more diverse range of services within the company. By doing so we are sure that we can secure more market share. We are very grateful for the support we have received from Invest Northern Ireland and could not have embarked on expansion within the business over such a short period without its assistance.”

Six local jobs go in Environment Agency

August 18, 2014 10:00 am

NIEA
AT LEAST SIX temporary  jobs have gone locally in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency due to cut-backs, but the workers have yet to receive written confirmation.

The temporary agency staff, responsible for the maintenance of grass and monuments at local landmarks such as Castle Archdale and Devenish Island have lost their jobs as a result of a recent Northern Ireland Executive cutbacks.

A DOE spokesman confirmed the cuts across the North.

“Owing to the recent Executive decision to cut budgets, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has had no choice but to release a number of temporary agency staff earlier than planned. The majority of these temporary staff were taken on for the summer months at a number of the NIEA visitor attractions.

“However, the NIEA is putting in place contingency measures to maintain service levels as much as practicable at these visitor facilities. This should allow the people of Northern Ireland and tourists to continue to enjoy them over the remaining peak period.”

Local UUP councillor Raymond Farrell revealed that these staff members have been left in limbo, as while they have been verbally informed that they have lost their jobs, they yet to receive written confirmation.

“There is anxiety and uncertainty as they are unsure do they still go to work until the end of September when their contract is due to run out.”

He continued:    “I am very disappointed to learn of these job losses and the sudden manner and method of delivery to employees. These staff were providing a valuable service in the local community and in a tourist county as Fermanagh, their work was valuable and essential. I immediately on hearing this news contacted senior officials in the council who were unaware of these job losses and as yet what contingency plans had been put in place in the height of the summer season.

“The loss of one’s job is devastating, people have financial commitments like mortgages, young families to care for, as well as their own self esteem and self worth. We hear talk of economic recovery yet for these people who are without a job that is worthless.”

Seventeen jobs to go as government makes U-turn

August 14, 2014 11:00 am
HMRC

The HMRC building in Enniskillen that recently closed

ENNISKILLEN income tax staff at the centre of a government strike say they are being forced into voluntary redundancy despite assurances by the Treasury Minister that all routes of redeployment would be explored.

Just six weeks after the tax office in Abbey House closed its doors, 17 staff were told this week their jobs are to go prompting union representatives and politicians to accuse the Treasury department of making no effort to help secure local jobs.

Staff expressed their shock over the decision adding that “no care or thought for the well-being of families” was considered.

A strike was held as office workers united in opposition to the national reforms of the HMRC days before the office closed.

Barney Lawn from the Public and Commercial Services union issued a statement on behalf of the employees: “Staff effected by this feel that HMRC have not taken into consideration their personal impact nor has a equality impact assessment been completed.

“They have rail-roaded through and staff feel they are being forced into voluntary redundancy without any due consideration for redeployment options and the department has absconded from their responsibility of the equality agenda.

“Seventeen people have been offered redundancy and if they reject then they will be forced into compulsory redundancy where the payment is not as good.”

Mr Lawn accused the Treasury department of adopting a dogmatic approach and called on government officials to reconsider their decision.

“This announcement has come as a complete surprise,” he said.

“Normally they would give a reasonable time for redeployment, like six months to try and get other work.

“The department has made little or no effort in realistic terms of securing other jobs. They haven’t put any time or effort in redeploying other people.

“This will effect 17 jobs in Fermanagh out of the 23 staff as the rest went voluntarily. The majority of workers are female and part time and live locally with families.

“The department’s approach is very dogmatic and leaves people with limited hope. The union’s position is that we will continue to make representations along with other MPs, MLAs in the department to re-consider its position.

“Staff are shocked and de-moralised and have been loyal employees and did not want to be treated in such a manner. There has been no care or thought for the well-being of their families.”

DUP MP Gregory Campbell voiced his anger at the redundancies.

“I asked the Treasury if they would take steps to ensure that HM Revenue and Customs staff based in Northern Ireland scheduled to be offered voluntary redundancy terms will be given the opportunity of being redeployed, he added.

“Employees find it difficult to believe on 14th July when the Minister’s reply was signed off on, that the voluntary redundancy announcement was not also finalised considering that it was put to employees three weeks later, on 7th August. A Minister saying that something “cannot be ruled out in the future” when it appears he has already decided to introduce it, is nauseating.”

Potential for up to 600 jobs insists fracking company

July 31, 2014 4:00 pm
Geologist Dr Tony Bazley

Tamboran director Dr Tony Bazley

 FRACKING COMPANY Tamboran has expanded on the promise of ‘hundreds’ of jobs coming to Fermanagh if Fracking goes ahead.

 The company said that ‘if in due course the company is able to proceed to the next stage and that ultimately leads to gas production’, there will be ‘considerable employment opportunities both directly and indirectly’.

Anti-fracking campaigners have questioned the number of jobs promised by Tamboran, however, the company itself has reaffirmed intentioned to bring several hundred jobs to the area.

A spokesman told the Fermanagh Herald that the company ‘will require upwards of 600 people in full time long term positions’ and that they ‘will be seeking to recruit as locally as possible’.

The spokesman said: “We would propose to provide local training opportunities to ensure we have a well-trained local team as this would be preferable to recruiting from overseas. We are determined to create as many jobs as possible in the local area.”

The spokesman also said that the company will be seeking to use local suppliers ‘as much as possible’ for services such as aggregates, security, professional services, vehicles, maintenance, catering and hospitality.

The spokesman stressed that the company is ‘still at the very early stages of exploration and fact-finding and we firstly need to verify the presence of the natural gas in shale rock’.

He added: “We know some are opposed to natural gas and at the same time we know there is also considerable interest and support for the project. To date we have received several hundred enquiries about business opportunities and job opportunities, all unsolicited and mostly from local people. Given the potential benefits this project could bring through billions of investment, job creation and security of energy supply for decades to come, we would ask that people keep an open mind and make up their own mind based on the facts.”

Forty jobs to go with closure of well known nursing home

July 14, 2014 3:43 pm

Shannagh PNH Belleek

 

ONE OF Fermanagh’s best known nursing homes is set to close with the loss of up to 40 jobs

Staff at Shannagh Nursing Home heard the stunning news at a meeting at the home.

Up to 40 people, between full and part-time staff, could now be unemployed as a result of the closure, which is expected at the end of the month

And 15 patients, many of them very elderly, will be looking for alternative care.

Reacting to the distressing news, Councillor John Coyle said he had contacted Taoiseach Enda Kenny urging a “policy change to allow elderly people in Donegal and Leitrim to avail of care services in the North like Shannagh”.

The introduction of a “Fair Deal” scheme by the HSE in the South has prevented patients from using nursing home facilities in the North.

Shannagh’s location on the Donegal border meant it had taken in quite a few patients from the South, but this is no longer the case.

It is huge blow to the economy of the Belleek and surrounding areas.

An emotional Shannagh owner Hugh Tunney said it was “devastating for me and my family and our staff”.

“It was not a decision we took lightly and we tried everything both physically and mentally to keep the business afloat”.

“Since we opened on November 2 1992 we have tried to run a family-oriented home where patients got the very best of care”.

“And we have always tried to employ local people and buy our needs from local suppliers.

“But due to lack of admissions from the Western Trust and the resulting sustained period of low occupancy we are unable to continue”.

Mr Tunney said that every effort would be made to help current patients secure alternative arrangements.

The closure is particularly untimely given that the home had received a glowing report only last June about the quality of its care.

Some of the many complimentary comments from patients and staff said the “food and care in the home was excellent”

Other comments said the staff made patients feel “cared and loved”, and “It is the next best thing to our own home”.

At its peak, Shannagh provided a top quality service for up to 30 patients in a scenic rural setting.

But this had declined to 15 patients in recent times.

And a few years ago, it had four residents aged over 100 including Father Ambrose O’ Gorman who passed away at the age of 102 two months ago.

One of the highlights for Shannagh was the visit of former President Mary McAleese in 2001.

Other celebrities to visit the home included Fine Gael Taoiseach John Bruton and country singing legend Daniel O’Donnell.

Meanwhile in a statement Hugh Tunney added: Our primary objective is to provide the highest standard of care to the residents and therefore the Home will continue to operate until suitable alternative accommodation is found for each one of them. Residents, relatives and staff have been notified and will be kept fully informed. The intention is to manage the home to ensure that residents incur minimal disruption.

“Lines of communication have been opened with the relevant regularity authorities and care reviews for the residents are a priority. I would like to thank the people from Belleek, Garrison and surrounding areas both north and south of the border for their support over the last twenty one years”.

And Mr Coyle added: “This is devastating news for the entire Belleek community. Shannagh nursing home has provided first class care for all its residents for many years and will be sorely missed by those living there, their families and the community.

He added that he will be contacting northern health Minister Edwin Poots. “It’s now clear for everyone to see that the Transforming Your Care agenda is making it difficult for homes like Shannagh to survive. It’s imperative that we see immediate action to ensure the residents are rehomed to avoid unnecessary stress.”