Microsoft to use Assured Skills Academies to staff its new Belfast centre

Mon, 27/01/2020 - 15:36 -- Editor

Economy Minister Diane Dodds today announced that Microsoft has chosen Northern Ireland as the location for a new Cyber Security Centre which will see the creation of up to 85 new jobs in Belfast.

The Department for the Economy is funding pre-employment training places in Assured Skills Academies at Belfast Met, to help individuals compete for these vacancies.

Making the announcement, the Minister said: “This expansion by Microsoft in Northern Ireland is exciting and welcome news. Not only is it a direct result of the skills and talent available here, but it is also an indicator of the strength and vibrancy of the local IT sector, particularly in the field of cyber security.

“Assured Skills Academies have a track record of ensuring local employers have access to the skilled people they need in order to grow, while also upskilling local people and developing the capability of further education colleges. Bringing this project to fruition has been a result of a successful partnership approach between my Department, Invest Northern Ireland and Belfast Met.

“Microsoft is collaborating with my Department and the college to develop Assured Skills Academies for participants to upskill and compete for roles in the company’s new Cyber Security Centre. I wish Microsoft every success as the company recruits for these new roles and grows its presence in Northern Ireland.”

Academies are open to anyone with a 2:2 degree or above in any discipline, or a Level 5 qualification in an IT related subject. All students who complete the Academy will be ensured a job interview with Microsoft for consideration for the new positions. The Department for the Economy is funding Assured Skills Academy training places in the amount of more than £800,000. Invest Northern Ireland has offered £150,000 of support towards the creation of 25 of the 85 planned roles.

Speaking today, Darren Dillon of Microsoft said: “We’re delighted to be able to establish this new Cyber Security Centre here in Northern Ireland which will provide support to Microsoft’s largest enterprise customers across Europe, Middle East and Africa. An added advantage to this project is the focus on upskilling people to give them the opportunity to work in this dynamic area of the technology industry and over time we hope to be able to grow the team that works with us here in Northern Ireland.”

Welcoming the announcement, Kevin Holland, CEO of Invest NI, said: “Microsoft is one of the world’s most innovative companies and its decision to choose Belfast for this new Cyber Security Centre is a vote of confidence for both Northern Ireland and the talented people here. This investment represents a significant boost for the Northern Ireland economy and will provide a range of opportunities for people to train for exciting new hi-tech roles.”

Damian Duffy, Director of Development at Belfast Met, said: “Belfast Met is a leading provider of pre-employment training that is industry-relevant and equips participants with hard and soft skills that will help them operate in the business world. We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of participants.”