Angus burghs could share in Tesco jobs boost

AN INNOVATIVE Homeworking pilot project at the Tesco Customer Service Centre that will create 70 jobs this year, with the prospect of an additional 200 vacancies over the next three years, has been hailed as a “major jobs boost for the region” by Alan Mitchell, chief executive of the Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce.

The scheme, which is the first of its kind in the area, could see local people from Arbroath, Carnoustie and other Angus burghs work remotely from the comfort of their own home with round the clock support from senior staff and intensive training provided beforehand at the Dundee-based customer service centre.

Applicants are welcomed from Dundee and the surrounding area with the potential for further expansion across the region for future vacancies.

Launched as a small pilot project with 33 staff last year, the centre’s Homeworking operation is hopeful of rapid expansion in the next few years and could increase to 300 employees by 2014. The new positions, which include customer service managers and team leaders, will help the centre cope with continued rapid growth at its base in Dryburgh industrial estate, where it takes calls from 18 million Tesco customers each year.

Mr Mitchell said: “Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce applauds this exciting initiative by the Tesco Customer Service Centre. It will be a major jobs boost for the region and help keep a significant employer located here.

“This scheme will create job opportunities for many people whose domestic situation makes it difficult for them to fit into traditional working arrangements and cutting down on travel is good for the environment. It is this type of innovation that makes Dundee and Angus such a good place to build and grow a successful business.”

Dundee City East MSP, Shona Robison, commended the Homeworking scheme.

Shona said: “I’m delighted that Tesco is leading the way with this Homeworking scheme which ticks the boxes on a number of levels: it is good for the employee, good for the area generally as it diversifies the kind of employment available generally and reduced traffic congestion.

“Homeworking will allow flexibility in childcare arrangements and working patterns. This innovation is helping to boost employment – so good news all round.”

Jamie Hughes, centre manager at the Tesco Customer Service Centre, explained the Homeworking innovation allowed Tesco to continue to create jobs locally from its base in the Dryburgh industrial estate.

He said: “Over the last five years, we’ve had an average of 100 new permanent staff joining us each year. At that rate, it wasn’t going to be too long before we outgrew our offices and, rather than looking at a new centre elsewhere in the country, this project will help keep jobs in the local area.

“Job creation in the numbers we’re talking about is fantastic news, for both Dundee and the wider area.”

Homeworking is just one of the innovative projects under way at the award-winning centre. More than 200 staff there have gained SVQ qualifications in the last 12 months as part of a centre-wide initiative while others have volunteered to help mentor secondary school pupils on an ongoing basis.