Pearson to create 300 new jobs in Belfast
PUBLISHING and education colossus Pearson is set to create 300 jobs in Belfast "over the next few years" as part of a major investment in the north.
As revealed by the Irish News last year the publicly-listed company has chosen Belfast as the location for a new finance services centre, with 100 staff already in place within Millennium House on Great Victoria Street.
The company, which employs 35,000 worldwide began recruitment for a range of accountant and analyst posts last summer, with senior vice president Gareth Morgan hoping to have 300 in place "over the next few years".
"We have no precise metrics that we're measuring against," he said.
Mr Morgan would not disclose the salaries for the new positions, simply stating it is "market competitive".
Explaining why Belfast was chosen ahead of other international competitors the senior vice president highlighted the skilled workforce in Northern Ireland as the "key reason".
"We looked at a number of different locations and considered a number of different factors and Belfast was an attractive location to us largely because of the availability of the skilled workforce that meet the criteria, coming out of the universities and so on," he said.
Mr Morgan described Belfast as a "long-term" investment and saw the first floor Millennium House premises as the location for the Belfast office going forward.
The investment from Pearson is being supported by nearly £2 million worth of finance from Invest NI and the Department for the Economy.
The department is offering £460,000 through its Assured Skills Programme with the remainder from Invest NI going towards job creation.
Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton admitted the project had taken a couple of years to develop, but was pleased with the positive outcome.
"We're delighted to have such a high-quality name here setting up an operation of such scale offering opportunities for both graduates and experienced financial people in Northern Ireland," he said.
"The addition of this global name to the list of blue chip companies operating in here is testament to the quality of our people and the value of our proposition.
“We have had great success in not only attracting new investors, but also in helping those companies grow and expand their operations in Northern Ireland further. I am confident Pearson will have a similar positive experience," he added.
Pearson plc employs between two and three thousand staff in the UK and 35,000 worldwide, predominantly in north America.
The firm, which has its headquarters in London, describes itself as the 'world's learning company', with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology.
The Pearson Group was previously one of the world's leading media and publishing companies and owned the FT Group, as well as a 50 per cent stake in the Economist Group, before restructuring in 2015 to focus on education services.