The Chief Commercial Officer of Ohio call centre operator, Convergys, Mike Wooden, said he was delighted to be in Londonderry on Thursday (April 17) to announce over 300 new call centre jobs.
“By combining our extensive experience supporting many of the world’s top telecommunications companies with the highly skilled and talented workforce in this region we can create a delivery centre that will generate meaningful benefits for Convergys clients, and more importantly, extensive career opportunities for the local workforce,” he said.
“Invest NI’s support throughout this process was an important part of our decision to locate here. We look forward working with them again in the future,” he said.
Convergys is to set up a customer service centre in the city in collaboration with its client EE, an investment which Invest Northern Ireland is supporting with an offer of £1.5million.
Olaf Swantee, EE CEO, said: “I’m very proud that EE is leading the UK telecoms industry, delivering not only the first but the biggest and fastest 4G network for the country, and within 18 months, I want to be able to say that EE has done for customer service in the UK what it has done for networks.
“A major step towards this is returning customer service jobs to the UK, where performance has been shown to exceed that of overseas contact centres.
“The first stage of this is to bring over 300 jobs to Northern Ireland in partnership with Convergys.”
Last week the Sentinel reported how Investment Minister Arlene Foster was refusing to be drawn on whether EE, Britain’s biggest mobile operator, was set to establish a call centre in Londonderry.
Today (April 17) she said: “This investment, which will generate over £5million to the local economy annually, is good news for the north-west and for the Northern Ireland economy as a whole.
“As well as attending the Northern Ireland Investment Conference last October, representatives from Convergys and EE also participated in a roundtable discussion at the event with Prime Minister David Cameron to specifically discuss the benefits of Northern Ireland as a cost-effective investment location.
“It is welcome news today that we have been able to turn those discussions into tangible results. Invest NI’s offer of support was also crucial to convincing Convergys and its client to choose Northern Ireland as the base for its new customer service centre.”
SDLP MP Mark Durkan said: “I welcome the announcement that EE is to bring over 300 of its first ‘re-shored’ jobs to Derry. When I first spoke to EE representatives at an information event in Parliament after their brand launch, they promised to look at the city as a possible location.
“They were interested by the City of Culture, Digital Derry, CultureTech, Project Kelvin, the Super Connected status and the experience of other companies.
“True to their word they followed up that interest and engaged positively with Invest NI.
“I want to acknowledge Invest NI’s contribution to this decision by a market-leading company.
“EE’s decision is a vote of confidence in Derry as an investment location and also recognition of the calibre of the local workforce.
“I have been in touch with the EE team this morning to commend them on their commitment and look forward to welcoming them on the commencement of operations.”
Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Sinead McLaughlin said: “This is excellent news for the city. We have sadly become the worst hotspot for unemployment not just in Northern Ireland, but in the whole of the UK. This is a title we would like to lose urgently.
“This latest jobs announcement is another move in the right direction and we thank Invest NI for its assistance in making this possible.
“Derry’s location for new jobs in the communications sector is very appropriate and the Chamber sees this as one of the industries offering the greatest potential for our city, given our excellent communications infrastructure.”