Business

Wrightbus to create 300 new jobs as production ramps up

The workforce at Wrightbus is expected to reach 930 by 2022 in response to new bus orders from across the UK and Ireland.

BALLYMENA bus manufacturer Wrightbus has announced plans to create 300 new jobs following a string of fresh orders from the UK and Ireland.

The company said it will also make another 120 temporary roles permanent in a bid to ramp up production.

The recruitment drive will take the bus-maker’s workforce to 930.

The company said it hopes all the new roles, which include skilled, semi-skilled, general operators and support staff, will be filled in 2022.

Some 1,200 people lost their jobs when Wrightbus fell into administration in September 2019.

Just 56 staff were retained when JCB heir Jo Bamford bought the company out of administration a few weeks later.

Heavy investment in hydrogen and low emission technology has taken the workforce back to around 600.

One of the bus manufacturer’s latest recruits, Neil Collins, who was named as new Wrightbus managing director just three weeks ago, said: “It’s a fantastic success story, and not one many people would have imagined just a few short years ago.

“In the last two years, the company has not only been bought back from the brink, but has been reinvigorated and has seen a period of phenomenal growth.”

The Bamford-era has seen Wrightbus launch the world’s first hydrogen double decker and the fastest-charging double deck electric bus on the market.

“Our order book is looking very healthy with our zero emission buses in high demand,” added Mr Collins.

“And we have multiple conversations ongoing with a number of bus operators from across the UK and Ireland. And let’s not forget that this has all been achieved despite the terrible effects of the global pandemic over the past 18 months.”

Jo Bamford said the past two years had been a difficult period for the manufacturer.

“We’ve not only had to pull the company back from administration, but we’ve also had to get through unprecedented times due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Wrightbus chairman Jo Bamford.

“Introducing two new world-leading products in the Hydroliner and the Electroliner, and being able to bring the workforce up from just 56 people to more than 900 in those two short years is incredibly satisfying, and shows the marked determination that we all have to make sure this business is a world-leading success.”

The Wrightbus chairman pledged to continue investing in both the workforce and technological advances

“I’m proud to say Wrightbus is firmly back in business, creating jobs not just in Northern Ireland but indirectly across the UK - and this is only the start of the recovery.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Business