Business

Alchemy Technology Services creating 256 jobs in Derry

Alchemy Technology Services director and founder John Harkin (right) with Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton at the company's new European Centre of Excellence in Derry. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye
Seamus McKinney

THE creation of more than 250 new high-end IT jobs in Derry will contribute around £6.5 million a year to the economy.

The jobs are being created by US company Alchemy Technology Services and will focus on the provision of software and technology to the UK and European insurance sector.

Texas-based Alchemy, founded and developed by Derry man John Harkin, is setting up is European Centre of Excellence in the former 'City' shirt factory.

And the 256 posts will bring to 630 the number of new jobs confirmed for Derry since the start of the summer, following announcements by FinTru and Danske Bank.

Mr Harkin said the business would focus on updating software in the insurance sector.

He also revealed average salaries would range from £20,000 to £45,000 a year.

The first 80 jobs will be recruited immediately, with staff to be trained through the North West Regional College’s business support centre. The remaining positions will be filled over the next two years.

The jobs will take advantage of the “unprecedented investment” in digital transformation by insurance companies, according to Mr Harkin.

“There is a real shortage of specialist skills to respond to this upsurge in digital transformation projects across the insurance industry. We plan to help meet that demand by bringing new talent into the industry,” the Derry man said.

Mr Harkin said Alchemy aimed to recruit business and technology graduates and college students with good communication and interpersonal skills.

“I am originally from Derry and have made frequent visits here in recent months as we assessed different locations for this investment.

“I have met with the colleges and university and numerous students and have been impressed. I am confident that this is the right place to set up our business and find the talent we need,” Mr Harkin said.

News of the jobs has been widely welcomed.

Derry and Strabane mayor John Boyle said it was evidence that confidence in the north west economy was continuing to grow.

“The announcement brings to over 4,500 the number of new jobs created since the setting up of a new council and is evidence of the positive work we are doing to achieve our targets of 15,000 new jobs by 2032,” he said.

Derry Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion said the news showed what the region could offer when people worked together.

She said: “At a time when the uncertainties of a Tory Brexit looms over business and threatens the economy here, job creation of this level is welcome news.”

SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood said the investment in the north west was long overdue.

“We must continue to do more to ensure such investments are not one-offs but a regular feature for our local economy,” he said.

Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said Mr Harkin identified a gap in the market (Invest NI and the Department for the Economy is providing £2.3 million in support of the new roles).

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