Bus manufacturer Wrightbus, which is leading the world in zero emission passenger transport, is to create up to 300 permanent jobs after winning a string of orders from the UK and Ireland.
It will also convert 120 existing temporary jobs into permanent positions as it looks to ramp up production at its Ballymena headquarters in what will be a welcome boom to the Northern Ireland economy.
The firm, which was bought out of administration by green entrepreneur Jo Bamford in October 2019, had just 56 members of staff when he took over.
Now thanks to an incredible period of growth driven by the development of word-leading technology - including the creation of the world’s first hydrogen double decker bus, and a market-leading electric double decker bus - the firm is on track to have 930 permanent employees once the new positions have been filled.
Wrightbus hopes the job roles, which will include skilled, semi-skilled, general operators and support staff, will all be filled in 2022.
“It’s a fantastic success story, and not one many people would have imagined just a few short years ago,” said Wrightbus MD Neil Collins.
“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. We’ve launched the world’s first hydrogen double decker, we’ve launched the fastest-charging double deck electric bus on the market and we’re now the UK’s only bus builder with both a hydrogen and electric product on the market.
“Our order book is looking very healthy with our zero emission buses in high demand, 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.”
Mr Collins said employees joining the firm would get the chance to be involved with world-leading technology and systems that were at the forefront of revolutionising the transport industry.
“Our zero emission buses are truly world-leading and we’re incredibly proud of the part they’re playing in the UK’s race to net zero. The fact that our employees get to play their part in this effort makes them incredibly proud, not to mention the fact that they are developing and working with the technology of the future.
“We’re building an incredible team in Ballymena and we want the best people to come and work for us. We’re aiming to increase bus production again next year, which will in turn lead to the creation of even more permanent jobs. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be involved with Wrightbus.
“We’ve got a strong future ahead of us and we’re proud to be playing an important part in the wider post-Covid recovery of the Northern Irish economy,” he added.
Jo Bamford, who has been the driving force behind the change in fortunes at Wrightbus since buying the business, said: “The last two years have not been easy. 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.
“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.
“We’re continuing to invest not only in employees, but in the technological advances that will keep our buses at the very pinnacle of the industry. 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.”
Jobs on offer will include coachbuilders, welders, vehicle installation electricians, driveline operatives, factory operatives.
“It’s a fantastic success story, and not one many people would have imagined just a few short years ago.”Neil Collins