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08:38 on Wednesday
7 March 2001

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Free training initiative offers call centre careers for jobless


A groundbreaking initiative designed to offer local people free training for careers in the dynamic customer service and call centre industry will be launched next month (16 October).

People who have been unemployed for some time, have been made redundant or want to return to work after a career break can retain their state benefits and receive an additional 10 per week while participating in the eight-week training programme.

The programme - covering keyboard, customer service and telephone technique skills - will result in an RSA computer qualification. It will also include specific training about products and services offered by local companies that operate customer service and call centres, leading to genuine job opportunities.

The new scheme has been devised following a seminar held last October that established a call centre steering group in association with Greater Peterborough Investment Agency (GPIA) and Greater Peterborough Chamber. The steering group aims to recruit and train more call centre and customer service personnel to satisfy increasing demands which are expected to see jobs double to around 500,000 across the UK within the next five years.

GPIA chief executive Gloria Milne said: "Peterborough already has a substantial number of call centre and customer service operations and it is important to encourage more people to recognise that these centres offer genuine, rewarding and progressive career opportunities.

"Some of our major employers - including Thomas Cook, Budget Insurance, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society and Coca Cola Schweppes - are supporting this initiative and are prepared to offer participants a choice of full and part-time jobs. This is an ideal opportunity to train for jobs in an exciting business environment where they can improve their prospects as they improve their skills."

The government-funded training programme is being provided by Peterborough ITeC Business College in Vicarage Farm Road, Peterborough, and travel costs in excess of 4 per week will be reimbursed. The programme requires a minimum of 21 hours per week for eight weeks. Places are limited so people are urged to register as soon as possible for the course that begins on 16 October.

For further details, telephone 01733 312120.

September 2000

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