TECHNOLOGY giant Fujitsu has announced plans to double its workforce at its Highland centre in Alness.
The company moved their north of Scotland centre to larger premises in the Ross-shire town in a bid to accommodate new posts in 2015.
The centre at Fyrish House currently accommodates 25 staff servicing Fujitsu’s £66 million contract with Highland Council as well as 12 staff recruited in June to handle enquiries for other clients.
The company expects to see a similar number of posts created in the coming year with a commitment to bringing other local authority client jobs from around the UK to the service desk.
Jim Brophy, Fujitsu’s client director, said: “Our plans still need final approval from some key clients, but we are convinced about the quality of the Alness service desk and the performance to date.
“This gives us real confidence that we can bring new jobs and opportunities to the area in the near future.
“We have been really impressed with the Alness staff and this gives us further encouragement to attract new jobs to the Highlands. Doubling the workforce in the next 12 months is a realistic target.”
Highland Council leader Drew Hendry welcomed the news.
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He said: “We’ve always believed in the workforce here in the Highlands and this is great news about the jobs potential in Alness.
“We’ve challenged Fujitsu to be innovative and to bring more employment to the region. They’re meeting that challenge and we look forward to playing our part in attracting even more jobs to the Highlands.”
Fujitsu already employs around 100 staff in Inverness and the new jobs at Alness would make the company one of the biggest private sector employers in the Highlands.
Fujitsu also recently launched a High Performance Computing (HPC) pilot that will be implemented with the support of Highland Council and Energy North and will link the Highlands with computer clusters in other parts of the UK, as well as in Europe, China, Japan and the US.
The combined power will mean that work that normally takes days, or even months, can be completed in hours or minutes, allowing connected firms to improve innovation and productivity. Two local companies will be chosen shortly to pilot the programme.
Fujitsu, which is funding the pilot, says it has been inspired by the council’s proposals for a Highland Science Skills Academy, which it is also involved in, and could bring high quality IT and technology jobs to the north of Scotland. It predicts the super-fast network could revolutionise research and development operations in the area.
Fujitsu is the world’s third largest IT service provider, employing more than 161,000 people in over 100 countries with an annual group turnover of $47 billion. In the UK and Ireland Fujitsu employs 11,400 people and has annual revenue of £1.7 billion.
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