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Highlands set for major jobs boost after firm wins Ministry of Defence IT contract


By Alasdair Fraser

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Innis Montgomery.
Innis Montgomery.

Inverness and Nairn are set for a timely employment boost with up to 250 jobs created by a consulting, technology and outsourcing services giant.

Capgemini, the French multinational corporation operating in over 50 countries worldwide, is investing in a major recruitment drive with the lion’s share of 300 new Scottish posts to be created at the firm’s two Highland bases.

The move follows Capgemini’s success last June in landing a five-year contract to run the Ministry of Defence's IT service centre.

Charlotte Wright, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), welcomed the announcement as a “fantastic” economic boost amid the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis.

“The creation of new jobs is more important now than ever, so this recruitment programme by capgemini is fantastic and really couldn’t be happening at a better time,” Ms Wright said.

“At a very difficult time for the economy, the company competed very effectively at UK level for this important contract.

“Its success in bringing these jobs to the Highlands is testament not only to capgemini’s approach to continuous growth and ambitions for the future, but to the skills and experience in IT outsourcing that exist in our region’s workforce.

“It will strengthen Capgemini’s position as one of our largest private sector employers and we very much look forward to the posts being filled.”

Capgemini currently employs around 500 staff in the Highlands, from over 270,000 worldwide, having moved its main operations in the north from Henderson Drive to HIE’s former headquarters at Cowan House in Inverness Business and Retail Park in 2013.

Capgemini's UK Command Centre, Cowan House in Inverness. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Capgemini's UK Command Centre, Cowan House in Inverness. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Innis Montgomery, head of the firm’s Inverness command centre, predicted a “real growth period” for the company in the local area.

“We are anticipating the Highlands will go through a rather vigorous recruitment campaign,” he said.

“Scotland-wide, it will be somewhere in the region of 300 jobs and in the Highlands it will be somewhere between 200 and 250.

“It is really good to be in that position because the big news item at the moment is obviously Covid-19.

“In the Highlands, a large part of the economy is based on service industries and hospitality and a lot of people have been furloughed, with a lot of job losses.

“I’m acutely aware of that and we are anticipating that the labour market will be quite buoyant for us.”

Previously, most employment offered by Capgemini in the local area was focused on call centre work, but has since expanded and diversified into other areas such as technical services and cyber-security.

“Cyber-security has grown massively (in the Highlands),” Mr Montgomery stressed.

“Previously there were only about 20 people involved in that but over a number of years it has grown to over 100 and is continuing to grow.”

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