A Cork engineering and software firm has said it will create up to 180 new jobs after opening a new customer innovation centre.
Little Island-based Crest Solutions, which was founded in 1998 and provides services to multinational pharma and medical devices clients in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the US, said it would hire 80 engineers, project managers, analysts and technicians by the end of this year.
The firm said it was also aiming to add an additional 100 by the end of 2021, having grown from 20 in 2011 to 135 currently.
With offices in Cork, Westport and Corby in the UK, Crest invested in a joint venture with Vistalink in 2012 to grow in the Benelux and Scandinavian regions.
It has also established partnerships in the US to provide services on multiple global sites for pharmaceutical clients, including J&J, Allergan, Baxter Healthcare, MSD-Merck, BD, and Abbott.
Revenue at the firm grew 1,000% between 2012 and 2018 to more than €40m.
Chief executive and founder of the firm, Frank Madden said it plans to grow group revenue to over €150m over five years.
Business Minister Heather Humphreys, who was on hand to open Crest's new customer innovation centre in Little Island, said:
The company has seen phenomenal growth over the last number of years through its partnerships with multinationals and serve as an example for other homegrown businesses to follow.
Meanwhile, research from a jobs website found Cork had 10% less job vacancies compared to a year ago, in contrast to Limerick and Waterford which saw 5% and 12% increases respectively.
Irishjobs.ie said hotel and catering roles had increased 9% year-on-year, with a 13% rise in the last three months.
General manager of Irishjobs.ie, Orla Moran said with tourism consistently providing strong job growth, fears around the rise in Vat from 9% to 13.5% in last year's Budget had not played out, particularly outside of Dublin.
"Growth in hospitality jobs will make for encouraging reading for those who feared rise in Vat rates in Budget 2019 would hurt hotels and restaurant industry," she said.
With virtual full employment, keeping education flexible and modern, as well as encouraging foreign workers to plug shortages in talent was also key, Ms Moran said.
The IDA and Enterprise Ireland were in Cork and Dublin for events focusing on connecting indigenous Irish suppliers with multinationals.
More than 400 meetings between 188 Irish suppliers and 96 multinationals are due to take place over two days, Enterprise Ireland said.