Microsoft to open cyber security centre in Belfast, creating 85 jobs

Investment by US tech giant is supported with funding from the Department for the Economy and Invest NI

Microsoft is to open a cyber security centre in Northern Ireland, creating up to 85 jobs in Belfast. The centre will support enterprise customers across Europe, Middle East and Africa and provide consulting and proactive technical support professional services to customers.

Ahead of the opening, Microsoft will work the Department of the Economy to develop Assured Skills Academies at Belfast Met to allow people to upskill and apply for positions.

"An added advantage to this project is the focus on upskilling people to give them the opportunity to work in this dynamic area of the technology industry and over time we hope to be able to grow the team that works with us here in Northern Ireland," Microsoft's Darren Dillon said.

The Department for the Economy is providing more than £800,000 in funding for the Assured Skills Academy training places . The academies will be open to candidates with a 2:2 degree or above, or a Level 5 qualification in an IT related subject.

The announcement was made by the North's economy minister Diane Dodds.

“Not only is it a direct result of the skills and talent available here, but it is also an indicator of the strength and vibrancy of the local IT sector, particularly in the field of cyber security,” said Ms Dodds. “Assured Skills Academies have a track record of ensuring local employers have access to the skilled people they need in order to grow, while also upskilling local people and developing the capability of further education colleges.”

Microsoft's investment is being supported by Invest NI, with £150,000 of funding. "This investment represents a significant boost for the Northern Ireland economy and will provide a range of opportunities for people to train for exciting new hi-tech roles," said Kevin Holland, chief executive of Invest NI.