Hundreds of new jobs created at Wrightbus

Video report by Political Correspondent Vicki Hawthorne

Bus manufacturer Wrightbus is creating up to 300 permanent jobs.

The Ballymena-based firm, which was bought out of administration in 2019, says the move comes after winning a string of orders from the UK and Ireland.

It says it also plans to make 120 temporary jobs permanent as it ramps up production.

Wrightbus MD Neil Collins: "It's a fantastic success story, and not one many people would have imagined just a few short years ago.

"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."

Wrightbus was bought by green entrepreneur Jo Bamford in October 2019 and had just 56 members of staff when he took over.

However, once the new positions have been filled, it says it is on track to have 930 permanent employees.

The company says it hopes the job roles, which will include skilled, semi-skilled, general operators and support staff, will all be filled in 2022.

Some of the jobs on offer will include coachbuilders, welders, vehicle installation electricians, driveline operatives and factory operatives.

"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," added Mr Collins.

The company says it has seen "an incredible period of growth driven by the development of word-leading technology".

It says this has included the creation of the world's first hydrogen double decker bus, and a market-leading electric double decker bus.

"The last two years have not been easy," said Jo Bamford.

"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.

"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."