September 19, 2019 @ 14:57 by Steven Hugill
An online grocer is rolling out a North East expansion bosses say has the potential to create up to 300 jobs.
Ocado Group has launched a recruitment drive for hundreds of customer service posts in Sunderland.
The move comes after the business took on a flagship 59,427sq ft building at THE BEAM, which is based on Sunderland’s former Vaux Brewery site.
Officials say they hope to have the base operational before the end of the year, adding they aim to have people in post by November.
The centre will act as an additional hub for the company, which has a similar set-up in Hertfordshire.
To begin its recruitment process, the business is holding a series of “Get to Know Ocado” events for people who have applied for roles, as it looks to fill the first 30 positions announced for contact centre advisors and managers.
The days will be held in Sunderland on September 27 and 28 and October 17,18,19 and 20.
The events, which bosses say are invitation only, will include interviews with candidates, details of employee benefits and an overview of the company’s vision and values.
Successful candidates will be informed the week following the final event, with Ocado Group planning to have most in place between November 4 and 18.
The recruitment is being overseen by Mark Jenkins, Ocado Group recruitment and attraction manager.
He said: “The amazing welcome Ocado Group has been afforded by the people of Sunderland reaffirms our absolute confidence that the city will provide us with a friendly, professional and motivated workforce.
“The adverts for new roles are already out there and we’re hopeful of attracting a wealth of talent.
“Ocado Group visited and reviewed a whole host of potential sites across the UK before we selected Sunderland for our new base, where we were bowled over by the fantastic amenities and the city’s reputation as one of the country’s leading customer service hubs.”
Sunderland City Council has supported Ocado Group since it visited the city last summer and has worked hand-in-hand with the company to ensure the required infrastructure is in place ahead of its move.
THE BEAM is part of a £500 million city centre vision, with the wider city investment total standing at more than £1.5 billion to 2030.
As well as the former Vaux Brewery site, the city council is planning major improvements to other parts of the city centre, as well as increased leisure facilities that will create an exciting place to live, work and visit.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, has backed the people of Sunderland to deliver for Ocado.
He said: “We were absolutely delighted by Ocado Group’s decision to invest in THE BEAM and I am certain we can repay the company’s commitment to the city by providing it with a motivated, enthusiastic workforce.
“We enjoy a fantastic relationship with Ocado Group and couldn’t be happier that we’ve attracted such an exceptional brand to our city centre. The job ads are out there now, and I would urge people to explore the potential of working for such a progressive, exciting business in the heart of a modern, rapidly developing city.”
Ocado was founded in 2000 and was listed on the stock exchange ten years later. It is a FTSE 100 business, with sales of £1.6 billion, and employs more than 15,000 people across the group.
In February, it announced the creation of an online grocery retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer.