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BT recruitment drive falls short for new Accrington base
TELECOMS giant BT has called in outside help to recruit workers after finding just a third of the staff needed for a flagship new East Lancashire office.
The firm has employed just 111 of the 300 people they need for the call centre in Accrington after six months, despite having had more than 1,500 applications.
This has raised fears about the standard of education and qualifications of the local workforce.
In April BT announced the new base in The Globe Centre in St James Square after US-based outsourcing company Sitel announced it was moving to India and making 250 people redundant.
The company expressed confidence it would be able to find the 300 staff needed before the facility opened this Autumn.
Now, bosses have admitted just 111 staff have been found and they are using recruitment agencies and Lancashire County Council’s employment service to find the rest.
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Mike Damms, said: “BT have to find people with a certain skill set. However this does raise questions about the education, training, qualifications and suitability of local applicants from the East Lancashire workforce.”
To get county council help BT promised to run a pilot scheme for 10 jobless youngsters through its WorkStart programme and employ local people where possible.
A BT spokeswoman said: “We have recruited 111 new members of staff as of this week. We are using recruitment agencies and ongoing advertisements to attract candidates who are then assessed and those which are successful are appointed.
“These roles are not simple, so many people who applied were not suitable for these particular positions, but we have no concerns around filling the positions as we did expect it to be an ongoing and gradual process.”
County leader Geoff Driver said: “We worked hard to bring this new BT call centre to Accrington. We have continued to work with BT, who have committed to recruiting local people where possible and to helping people who are currently out of work back into the workplace, through Lancashire County Council's WorkStart scheme.”