First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA have announced that US engineering firm Caterpillar is investing over £7million in a major manufacturing project in Northern Ireland.
Caterpillar (NI) Ltd will assemble wheeled material handling machines for Caterpillar’s Industrial and Waste Group that will be sold in international markets. Part of the investment will focus on skills development to facilitate the 100 high quality manufacturing positions required to run the operation.
The announcement was made during the Ministers visit to Chicago where they met with Caterpillar senior management at the company’s headquarters in Peoria. Invest Northern Ireland has offered Caterpillar over £1million to secure the project. The Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) has also offered £220,000 through its Assured Skills Programme.
Welcoming Caterpillar’s further investment in Northern Ireland, the First Minister Peter Robinson said: “This is an extremely positive investment of £7milllion from one of Northern Ireland’s most established engineering firms. This expansion will see the further development of skills at Caterpillar and, when fully established, approximately 100 positions will be required to run the operation.
“Caterpillar has a long tradition of manufacturing and I welcome that this is the first manufacturing project to be located in Northern Ireland from outside the firm’s Electric Power Division.”
“The project is especially important as it has the potential to help attract additional projects from the wider Caterpillar family. This new project for Northern Ireland will also offer our local workforce the opportunity to develop key transferable skills that will add value to our manufacturing sector, bringing further economic benefit.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “Meeting with the company in the US has allowed us to cement relationships with management and assure them of our continued support for Caterpillar’s growth and development.
“This £7 million investment supported by a range of assistance from both Invest NI and DEL will ensure that Caterpillar has the support it needs to fully realise its manufacturing potential within this key area. The 100 quality manufacturing positions required to run the operation will generate salaries in the region of £2.2million annually, ensuring that existing employees and local people have an opportunity to progress high value career development opportunities.”
The yellow-coloured Caterpillar machines which will now be manufactured in Northern Ireland are typically used by customers around the world for scrap sorting and handling, and forestry applications.
Caterpillar Northern Ireland Operations Director, Robert Kennedy said: "We are very pleased to have the support of Invest NI and the Department for Employment and Learning to make this investment which will enable new work to come to Northern Ireland, providing an important addition to our existing operations. All Caterpillar Northern Ireland locations will benefit through the diversification of manufacturing, enabling us to continue to develop the skills and expertise of our local workforce."