SEAN Quinn has vowed to “take our time and build the business up” months after a group of local businessmen took ownership of the former Quinn Group.
Speaking to the Fermanagh Herald about the graduate recruitment event, the former billionaire businessman said: “It’s great, we always take great pride in being able to offer jobs to boys and girls in the local communities, it’s nice to see it re-established.
“It’s something we had going on for about 20 years and I suppose when we had all the businesses going we had jobs for male and female and secretarial work, manufacturing, accountancy, engineering, so we had a good range of jobs. We won’t have as many going forward but sure we will make the best of what we have. We will take our time and build it (the business) up.
“There seems to be a great turnout.”
Quinn director, Kevin Lunney told the students and graduates who squeezed into a tent erected outside the Packaging factory: “It shows the level of interest in something that is positive and going forward.
“As a priority we would make sure we would be in a position that we could re-launch this.
“The recruitment of talented apprentices and graduates has always been a corner stone of what this business is about. When QBRC originally set about its opportunity to see if this business could be taken into local ownership and control, it was very much a focus to launch something like this to seek to retain and keep in place the local talent we have.
“We have huge talent locally, a both graduate and apprenticeship level and we want to keep and maintain that.”
Hundreds of graduate and apprentice hopefuls from across Fermanagh descended on the Quinn Packaging factory in a bid to secure one of the 15 coveted graduate jobs.
One of the biggest employers in the county – Quinn Industrial Holdings Ltd (QIH) – earlier this month announced it is relaunching their graduate and apprenticeship programme.
Some 200 young people signed up for the scheme which was designed to help the curb the growing number of young people leaving the county.
CEO of the company, Liam McCaffrey, said they wanted to reverse that trend and retain Fermanagh’s talent pool.
Mr McCaffrey told the Fermanagh Herald he was “overwhelmed” by the turnout.
“This is testament to us, hopefully, as an employer and the desire in the community to keep as many people here as possible,” he added.
“It’s 15 reasonably high-quality jobs. These people will be well trained and will develop a career and hopefully grow and develop to be the future management of this group and if we can run the business well then in future years who knows maybe we could increase those numbers.
“I would imagine this will become an annual event, but we haven’t made up our mind yet. It’s hugely important to build the confidence in the area and hugely important to occasionally at least say that we have the best staff in the country.
“I believe in showing our appreciation and the strength and depth of the company and develop confidence so they can develop a career here so they don’t have to go abroad and that feeds into a very positive cycle because we get good management, we get good staff, we do well and have more money to invest, it all works.”
Among those attending the event was 16-year-old Jamie McManus, Lisnaskea who recently left St Comhghall’s College.
Speaking about the apprentice programme, he said: “I always liked big lorries and mechanising, I always thought it was a great experience to learn how it works, how it ticks and how everything goes in the machine.
“You can always learn from it and get a few ideas. It’s interesting and there’s always something that needs to be fixed. I never really thought (university) was for me, I just wanted to go out and get some work done, I never really thought going to college was my type of thing but I like this idea.
“I like it for the experience and it’s a local company and would be good to work for.”
Danny Dunbar from Belanaleck, who has graduated in mechanical engineering from Northumbria University, said: “I want to move home and I wanted to see what jobs there are before having to go overseas so I am trying to get as close to home as I can. I’m not sure what to expect but I’ll see how it goes and hopefully learn more about Quinn’s themselves and what they do for mechanical engineering and everything else.”
Hannah Parkinson, 17, from Tempo said: “I would like to learn more about the programme because I would like to go a different way from the university route as I’d like to learn practically.
“I’d like to get in to engineering. These events are good because it gives young people more opportunities rather than just the school route, it’s a more practical route than academic work.”