Part of a letter to the Clerk of the Committee
from the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland |
Thank you for your letter of 12 October seeking
the additional information that I undertook to provide when giving
oral evidence to the Committee on 16 June in relation to the above.
Your clarification of the status of the C&AG's
Report on inward investment is helpful. However I have now been
invited to appear before the Committee of Public Accounts on 24
November to give evidence on the Report. As this will provide
an opportunity for IDB to comment in detail on the C&AG's
Report, may I suggest that your Committee wait to see the published
transcript of that Hearing. Should your Committee wish to have
any of my points in that evidence clarified, I would be happy
to do so.
I attach the information sought by Mr McGrady
as Annex A and by the Chairman as Annex B. Producing the job creation
data for the years 1983-84 onwards has taken longer than anticipated.
I shall forward it to you by 5 November.
Finally, we will be publishing our 1998-99 Annual
Report on 12 November and I shall arrange for copies to be forwarded
to you for each Committee member.
29 October 1999
NORTHERN IRELAND AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
QUESTIONS 27 AND
28 OF 16 JUNE
1. How IDB determined which areas were designated
as Targeting Social Need (TSN).
2. A geographical analysis of the projects
and jobs which located in TSN areas over the period April 1995
to March 1999.
1. Targeting Social Need Areas
TSN is a core government initiative launched
in 1991 which attempts to ensure limited resources are targeted
principally on those areas and groups where need is most widespread
and severe. A wide range of indices, compiled by Professsor Robson,
University of Manchester, were used to determine such areas using
1991 Census data and unemployment statistics. The Department of
Economic Development decided that, in implementing its TSN policy,
IDB should operate at Council rather than Ward level. On this
basis 10 CouncilsCookstown, Derry, Dungannon, Fermanagh,
Limavady, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Omagh and Strabanewere
designated as TSN areas. The Belfast City Council area also fell
within the "Robson designation" but it was decided only
the Making Belfast Work wards rather than the whole Council area
be designated as TSN.
2. Location of Projects (and associated jobs)
to TSN Designated Areas: April 1995-March 1999
Set out below are the geographical locations
of the 37 new inward investment projects which located in TSN
areas over the period April 1995 to March 1999, together with
the associated job promotions.
|Council Area||Number New Inward Investment Projects||Associated New Jobs|
(Collin Glen and Poleglass wards)
|Newry and Mourne||2|| 217|
NORTHERN IRELAND AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
QUESTION 52 OF
16 JUNE ORAL
Further details on how IDB utilises Northern
Ireland's educated workforce as a key part of its sales message.
1. There are three ways in which we address
the different education requirements of companies in respect of
potential employees and in adding emphasis to the high academic
calibre of the local workforce.
2. Our key sales message emphasises the
real quality of Northern Ireland's business environment and in
particular the quality of the labour force. We do this under the
headings "Right People", "Right Connections"
and "Right Place". We also press the case that IDB is
the "Right Partner" for the investor and strongly reinforce
this overall message with testimonials from key investors. The
attached general brochure (attachment A),
for the North American market, demonstrates this approach.
3. Our current website and also our detailed
written presentations to investorsonce they have clarified
their project needsare structured in a similar way.
4. The most telling statistic for potential
investors is Northern Ireland's performance at "A" Level
where Northern Ireland has produced results 21 per cent above
the next best of the Great Britain regions (see bar chart opposite).
5. This performance is substantiated across
a range of data. For example we have higher participation rates
of young people at both secondary and tertiary levels than in
6. The above general message about our educated
workforce is reinforced in our sectoral campaigns where we emphasise
the specific relevant skills that are available.
7. In the call centre sector many employers
are looking for good quality secondary qualifications rather than
tertiary level. Recent investors such as British Airways, BT and
Prudential have been very pleased with the calibre of their recruits
in Northern Ireland compared to other regions of the UK.
8. Some call centres seek high levels of
skillfor example in ITand for these as well as software
development projects, a key selling point is the quantity and
quality of graduate companies such as Abbey National and Liberty
Mutual have been able to attract and retain in Northern Ireland.
9. At present our universities produce nearly
1,000 graduates a year with computer science as a major part of
their degree. The University of Ulster has the largest informatics
faculty in the UK. As yet Northern Ireland's software sector can
only employ a proportion of this output. While many graduates
will naturally wish to leave Northern Ireland to gain experience,
surveys indicate that many who have left in the past would have
stayed given attractive career prospects. These are now being
generated by new investment. We recently illustrated to a potential
software investor the following table of growth in numbers of
IT GRADUATES: UNIVERSITY OUTPUT
|T&EA Rapid Advancement||120
10. In addition, with the Software Industry Federation,
a database has been established of NI expatriates with IT skills,
interested to learn about opportunities in Northern Ireland. Currently
over 700 are on this register.
11. Our sales messages also feature prominently the skills
in electronics, where Queen's University's Schools of Electrical
and Electronic Engineering and of Mechanical Engineering have
international reputations; and in Bio-medical Sciences where the
University of Ulster's School likewise has achieved a five star
rating. The flexibility and responsiveness of the Universities,
not only in their business-related research but also in their
willingness to develop their curriculum to address changing industrial
needs is important. Seagate, for example, has worked with the
University of Ulster and developed a MSc in Informatics suited
to its particular needs.
12. A copy of our Software sectoral brochure is enclosed
to show how we shape the general sales message indicated at pargraph
2 above into a sector specific message.
Educated WorkforceCompany Specific Presentation
13. In the presentation mentioned at paragraph 9 above
we highlighted in the following way to the investor the availability
of experienced skills in Northern Ireland
Availability of Experienced Skills
5,000 Software Engineers
2,000 Electrical and Electronic Engineers
14. In every case we introduce potential investors to
existing investors who can confirm our sales message, viz the
good level of education and the willingness of employees to undertake
whatever further training is needed to enable them to adapt to
the investor's needs.
4 Not reported. Back
5 Not reported. Back