Hutchinson Group to create at least 40 jobs in NI

Jobs announcement comes as new figures show unemployment has fallen in the north

A Kilrea engineering firm is aiming high with a £4.1 million investment project to help it to win new contracts in the aerospace sector which could deliver 80 jobs in total.

The Hutchinson Group has already recruited 40 additional employees as part of an ambitious plan to go after high value contracts in the automotive, aerospace and materials handling sectors.

The family orientated business, which has been built on a strong engineering foundation, has three key divisions including a fabrication firm, a specialist aerospace arm, Aero Tech based in Antrim and design company H360.

Over the last five years the group has invested more than £4.4 million in new technology and expanded its manufacturing facilities in Kilrea to 60,000 sq ft.


Mark Hutchinson, managing director of Hutchinson Engineering, said the firm now aims to double its business revenue over the next three years by growing its customer base, particularly in international markets.

“Investing in state of the art technology, additional skilled staff and further expanding our manufacturing capabilities at Kilrea will help us to achieve this goal. We aim to build on our success to date and will continue to work closely with academia and industry to ensure a pipeline of fabrication skills in the future,” Mr Hutchinson added.

The new investment plans have been backed by Invest NI who have offered the Kilrea group £500,000 to support the creation of 80 jobs which could generate £1.85 million annually in additional salaries for the local economy.

The jobs boost for Co Derry comes as latest labour market figures show unemployment has fallen in Northern Ireland and there are more people in work.

Latest jobless figures show the total number of people out of work in the three months to October fell by 1,000 to 53,000.

The unemployment rate for the period dropped to 6.1 per cent while the total number of employee jobs in Northern Ireland was estimated by September to be in the region of 729,740 - an increase of 2,690 over the quarter.

Meanwhile the number of people claiming unemployment benefits also fell in the North last month by 800 people to 39,100.

Northern Ireland's Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said the statistics overall contained "positive messages".

“Unemployment has fallen, both over the quarter and the year, while the number of employee jobs has continued to increase.

"At 6.1 per cent, the Northern Ireland unemployment rate continues to compare very favourably to the August 2015 rates for the European Union (9.3 per cent) and the Republic of Ireland (9.4 per cent)."

The improved labour market in the North is in line with a general trend across the UK where the overall jobless rate fell to 5.2 per cent between August and October - the lowest it has been in almost a decade.

In the UK the total number of people looking for a job fell in the three months to October by more than 100,000 to 1.71 million people.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business