Further expansion and new jobs as Bloc launches tech spin-out
MAGHERAFELT-based Bloc has invested £600,000 in the launch of a new spin-out Bloc Labs, which will design, test, and develop the next generation of consumer technology products and experiences for global markets.
In its initial phase Bloc Labs will create 10 new jobs, forming a close-knit team of researchers, designers, and technologists who will focus on concept, design and product development.
But a further 40 jobs will follow, with the goal of bringing leading-edge customer solutions to market within the next 12 to 18 months.
Heading up the Bloc Labs team as site lead and chief technologist is Dr Rachel Gawley, one of the north's most highly experienced tech specialists.
She said: “Seeing possibility in the world is the fuel behind our engineering creativity at Bloc. As an agile company our focus is on using our ingenuity to overcome challenges, innovate solutions and develop the products and technologies which enhance lives.
“Bloc Labs is a unique workspace offering incredible scope and opportunity to individuals who will be empowered to do what they do best by bringing amazing ideas to life.”
The announcement is a significant development for the Mid-Ulster designer and manufacturer, which already employs more than 200 people across Northern Ireland and in its Netherlands division.
Last year the company was recognised for its pivot from manufacturing blinds to the design and production of face shields, a move that enabled it to bring all of its workforce back from furlough and employ extra staff.
And just recently it achieved the prestigious Red Dot Award global recognition for product design in recognition of its agile approach to innovation and problem solving.
Central to the firm's success is its revolutionary patented Bloc Out blind technology and market leading safety wand which is exported to key markets including the USA and Canada.
Bloc's managing director Cormac Diamond said: “We will continue to push the boundaries by creating new opportunities which will help us to scale our business on the global platform.
“Bloc Labs is just one more way in which we've turned our engineering and design experience into a meaningful, positive outcome, creating more jobs and opportunity for growth.”