Global growth plans are set to create dozens of new jobs at Northern Ireland engineering firm

A 3.1 million expansion is set to spark the recruitment of 40 new workers at an engineering firm in Northern Ireland, it has been announced.

Meanwhile, 15 hi-tech jobs could be created after proposals for a 20 million data centre in Northern Ireland were granted planning permission.

The moves have been welcomed by Northern Ireland's Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.

Ms Foster said the 40 new jobs being created at County Tyrone firm Telestack should help contribute more than 1 million to Northern Ireland's economy.

And she said the new jobs would offer salaries that are above average, meaning recruiters should have no problems filling the posts.

The Omagh-based firm is hoping the fresh investment will help grow its markets in the US, Australia, Africa and South America.

It designs, manufactures and installs equipment such as conveyor and loading systems that are used to transport bulk materials in mines, quarries, railways and ports.

Ms Foster said Northern Ireland is already a "recognised centre of excellence" in the sector, adding that the investment and expansion plans would give one of its most successful industries a "significant boost".

Part of the investment - some 444,000 - has been contributed by Invest Northern Ireland to help extend the firm's factory and improve its IT systems. Part of that funding is coming from the European Regional Development Fund.

Ms Foster added: "The 40 skilled jobs to be created in Tyrone will have salaries above the private sector median and will contribute over 1 million annually to the economy. This investment is very welcome news for the local area which is renowned for heavy engineering equipment production and also has the skills base to facilitate Telestack's growth plans."

The firm's managing director, Adrian McCutcheon, said the expansion is needed to help achieve the aim of "substantially" increasing sales to global customers over the next three years.

He added: "The support offered by Invest NI was essential in our decision to undertake this expansion which will help to underpin our competitive position in the sector and secure emerging new business across South America, Australia, Africa and the USA."

Meanwhile, the data centre given planning permission is set to be built in Coleraine.

Mr Durkan said the development could help turn the town into a digital hub.

Copyright Press Association 2013