Top entrepreneur will explain secrets of winning the talent war

FinTrU founder and chief executive Darragh McCarthy is guest speaker at next week's Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards in Titanic Belfast
Gary McDonald Business Editor

EARLIER this week, financial services group FinTrU launched its third Assured Skills Academy in Derry, where it is offering 20 training places for graduates.

It involves successful applicants (hundreds will apply) undertaking six weeks of industry-relevant pre-employment training at the North West Regional College and Ulster University, and on completion, each is guaranteed a job interview with FinTrU.

The initiative provides participants with real-world skills in fields including compliance, risk, legal, operations and consultancy to investment banks and other financial institutions.

Indeed to date FinTrU (the name is derived from its fully incorporated title of Financial Transparency Utility) has employed more than 200 people who have graduated through Assured Skills Academies.

“There's a real war for talent out there - and to be ahead of the game in our sector, it's about identifying, employing, retaining and nurturing the very best of it,” according to FinTrU's founder and chief executive Darragh McCarthy.

The former investment banker (he spent 18 years at Morgan Stanley in London and New York) will be guest speaker next Thursday night at the 13th annual Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards in Titanic Belfast, an event which sold out weeks ago.

"It goes without saying that people are key to our growth, which is what these awards are all about,” he said.

He'll tell our 600-plus audience how, from a blank canvas less than five years ago, he created FinTrU to provide the outsourcing of skilled, human-capital intensive and client-facing processes for financial services clients.

It established its Belfast centre of excellence in 2014, with initial plans to recruit 80 staff and has since grown successfully to now employing more than 250 staff.

And just last summer Cork-born Darragh unveiled plans to create more than 600 jobs over the next five years, equally split between Belfast and Derry.

His view is that you simply can't run a stellar-growth and successful business employing those kind of numbers without having ultra-talented people in your engine room.

“We don't just want to be seen as a great employer, we want to demonstrate that in practice, and we do,” he says.

“FinTrU set up in Northern Ireland because we recognised there is a talented workforce here. We should be hugely proud of that, and it's great that awards like the WEA promote that exact point.

“If I'm honest, until we entered these awards last year, I didn't appreciate how a big deal they actually are. It is undoubtedly one of the pre-eminent awards initiatives in Northern Ireland, and winning an award gives you proud employees for life, staff with a winning mentality.”

Next Thursday's awards will see more than a dozen of the distinctive WEA awards handed out in a ceremony presided over by BBC presenter Karen Patterson, with irreverent input from top comedian Tim McGarry.

This year's initiative will see the introduction of an overall Employer of the Year award, which has seen the judges select a stand-out company from all the entries received.

As well as the kudos of being named as overall Employer of the Year, the winner will also receive a special engagement workshop from well-being partner the Ulster Orchestra, which will enable further employee engagement.

The evening will also see a number of musical interludes, featuring Thornhill College in Derry, recent winners of the BBC School Choir of the Year, and singer-songwriter Ryan McMullan, described by Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody as "the voice of an angel - one of the most exciting artists to come out of Northern Ireland".

The Irish News workplace & Employment Awards have been supported by eight key business partners - Carson McDowell, the Public Health Agency, Henderson Group, Queen's University, Miller Hospitality, KPMG, Progressive Building Society and venue partner Titanic Belfast.

:: For more details at or follow us on Twitter at @irishnewsWEA

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