Motherwell has been given a massive jobs boost after a new call centre company announced plans to bring 600 new jobs to the town over the next three years.
Ascensos is establishing the contact centre jobs on the site of the former Lloyds Banking Group premises in Airbles Road which closed earlier this year.
The jobs boost will begin immediately and Ascensos will be working with leading name multi-sector clients.
The Motherwell centre is to be launched initially with 100 jobs and the firm says job numbers will increase steeply as more new projects and clients come on board. Scottish Enterprise has offered a regional selective assistance (RSA) grant of £1.8million to help support the project.
Ascensos is the brainchild of former beCogent executives Dermot Jenkinson, John Devlin and Katrine Young.
Mr Jenkinson, the firm’s executive chairman, is a former Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year, and remains on the board of retail giant John Menzies.
Call centre company beCogent created 3,000 jobs in Scotland and worked with clients including John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Virgin Media before it was sold for £35million in 2010.
Mr Jenkinson said: “We are using all our experience to create an owner-managed business which will be unique and will offer a significantly different proposition to our clients.
“The UK contact centre sector has seen a huge degree of consolidation over recent years with many privately owned providers being bought by the big corporate outsourcers.”
Mr Devlin, the company’s managing director, added: “We want to create high-quality, long-term jobs in what is an area with tremendous skills availability.
“Our experience in building a client-focused business with highly-engaged employees will prove invaluable.
“In terms of roles created, our focus is not just on youth employment as we will also be looking to retrain and develop our people skills across the spectrum, including return-to-work mums and those affected by redundancy over recent years. We want the very best people to play a big part in our success.
“The building in Motherwell has operated as a contact centre operation for a number of years and we are delighted to be coming to the area.
“The location is excellent with great transport links, and a good local skills base. We have been fortunate to receive tremendous assistance from both the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. In addition, North Lanarkshire Council has also been very supportive.
“The management team we have at Ascensos is extremely experienced in this field and we are all really enthusiastic about building this business using next-generation technology, fully embracing social media and creating a truly fantastic place to work for our employees.”
The move was welcomed by Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney.
He said: “Ascensos’s announcement of 600 new jobs in North Lanarkshire is great boost for employment in the local area.
“We welcome this announcement and, through Scottish Enterprise, have offered a regional selective assistance grant of £1.8 million to help support the project.
“I also recognise the company’s commitment to employing those returning to work after a period of leave and those made redundant.
“By occupying the former Lloyds Banking Group premises, Ascensos will bring a currently empty site back to life.”
Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson added: “RSA is one of the key tools we use to support job creation, company growth and investment in Scotland, and this is an excellent example of how it works.
“I look forward to continuing to support Ascensos as it grows its business in Motherwell.”
Councillor David Fagan, convener of regeneration for North Lanarkshire Council, said: “It’s great news that Ascensos is going to be based in Motherwell.
“I’ve been really impressed with their plans and that they have chosen Motherwell is a real endorsement of the town and North Lanarkshire as a great place to do business.
“We will help in any way we can to help deliver Ascensos’ aim of building a cutting-edge business. Creating jobs in North Lanarkshire is our number one priority and we really look forward to working with the team.”