GALASHIELS is in line for a major jobs boost over the next 18 months, thanks to a new contact centre in the town.
Local MP Michael Moore formally officially opened Sykes’s contact centre on Thursday, although the facility at Netherdale has actually been operating for more than two months.
Some 40 new call centre agents are already employed at the centre and fulfillment specialist Sykes now says this number is likely to grow to a target of 200 ‘seats’ over the next 18 months.
In addition, the 40 agents, who are likely to number more than 50 during the course of the next six months, all hail from the Borders, with some travelling from as far afield as Jedburgh to handle inquiries for retail giant Argos.
Sykes says one of the key objectives of establishing a new contact centre in Galashiels was to tap into an “extremely high quality” Borders workforce with the potential to resolve the myriad of hi-tech demands from Argos customers.
Opening the facility, Mr Moore said: “I am delighted to open this additional facility, which has been totally resourced by local people and is further proof that we have a quality pool of labour here in the Borders,” said Mr Moore.
Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker said the prospect of further new jobs to come at the contact centre was “fantastic” for the Borders.
“We have a number of local companies who are working hard to buck the current economic difficulties and it is always positive in the current economic climate to hear about job creation,” he told TheSouthern.
“Sykes has worked very hard as a local company and its success is to be welcomed by us all.”
Sykes’s UK subsidiary was formed as a result of the acquisition of Galashiels-based printers, McQueen, in 1998.
The $1.2-billion Florida-headquartered firm is a global operator with 55,000 employees, 750 of whom are located in Edinburgh and Galashiels.
McQueen was bought by Sykes Enterprises to handle mainly commercial inquiries from digital and software suppliers throughout Europe.
McQueen had by this time established a rapidly growing multilingual call centre with a hi-tech speciality in Edinburgh.
The Galashiels facility was established shortly afterwards, dedicated to fulfilment – whether this was literature demanded by contact centre clients or a wide spectrum of products, which Sykes Gala has handled over the years.
Sykes told TheSouthern: “The decision to create a contact centre operation in Galashiels has given this traditional fulfilment operation the important element of diversity, while tapping into the intrinsic strength of a well-educated Borders workforce.”