Telecom and broadcasting company may also have Castlebar base
THE people of Achill received some good news ahead of Christmas as a new company announced the creation of up to 150 jobs following the opening of a call centre.
The Mayo News has learned that Sattelco Communications UK Ltd, a telecom and broadcasting company, have chosen to locate their customer service call centre in Achill which will provide technical and sales support for the UK and Irish market.
The new company will provide broadcasting, telephone and broadband services and is to launch its mobile phone service - Pulse Mobile - in the UK and Ireland at the end of the first quarter of 2013 and its Cable TV service at the end of the third quarter.
The call centre will be located in the Údaras na Gaeltachta building in Achill Sound and the company were in Mulranny on Friday last interviewing for supervisors to run the call centre. The call centre will initially look after the Pulse Mobile arm of the company with up to 40 agents initially employed and the number of agents is expected to grow to up to 150 by the end 2013.
The Mayo News has learned that Sattelco are also looking at additional buildings in Achill and Castlebar with a view to expanding the call centre if there is a good take-up of the company’s product.
Gary McDonald, Head of Sattelco, told The Mayo News that they will initially employ 150 people on a full-time and part-time basis and is confident that the service will be a success and the call centre can expand.
“We are looking to employ 150 people on a full-time and part-time basis. It is really good news for the area. From our point of view it is nice to help out the place but we know we can get really good people and they will be appreciative of the job. That is excellent from our point of view.
“We have been very impressed with the applicants and are hopeful that it will be a very good place for us. We are looking at launching a separate call centre in Castlebar because we believe the expansion needs to be planned now rather than when it happens or when the rush comes on.
“Because we are launching in the UK and Ireland, we have double the chance of success. I have made a success of three companies in the UK and I am confident I can make a success here in Ireland. I have the right people to call on to ensure we can keep the company going and to keep the jobs going forward as well,” he explained.
Gary was a former Managing Director of First National Telecom in the UK and also worked with MTN in South Africa for four years in the nineties. The Mayo News also understands that a number of television ‘heavyweights’ from the US and Canada have located to the UK to work on the television arm of Sattelco which will be in competition with the likes of Sky and UPC for the cable TV market.
Gary explained that Pulse Mobile will provide a 3G service which will allow users to watch television on their mobile and believes his company will provide more services than its competitors can offer.
“It seems you have to have everything instantly and watch everything you can whenever you can. Obviously with 3G and 4G on the way it is now possible to have good video streaming and over the past 12 months there has been tremendous steps made in video compression and it doesn’t take up the band width when watching a 20 minute video. The idea is that we can bring this to the mobile handset and it won’t jitter and pause, which will be fantastic.,” he said.
In 2006, Scottish firm Contact 4 announced with great fanfare they were setting up a call centre in the Achill Sound office with its chairman, Pearse Flynn travelling to Achill for the announcement.
However, within two years the company announced that with immediate effect they were pulling out of Achill with the loss of 36 jobs - leaving the staff bitter over how they were treated.
‘Not in Achill for grants’
James Brennan, who will move from London to manage the call centre, explained that he was fully aware of the problems with Contact 4 and stressed that Sattelco are not in Achill for the grants and ‘we’re here to make the call centre a success’.
Speaking to The Mayo News in the Mulranny Park Hotel where he was conducting interviews for the role of supervisors, he said they will ‘redefine’ people’s perception of call centres.
“I am looking forward to it and relishing the challenge to change people’s mindset and for Sattelco to have a reputation for its successes rather than failures. We will be redefining people’s perception of a call centre because it will be totally different to what happened in the last one in every respect.
“The first step will be getting the supervisors which are the cornerstone of any call centre, and then deal with agents who will undergo a three month training programme. This will be well structured to ensure it is a fully professional operation. We want the employees to feel valued because they are providing a valuable service to the company,” he said.
Achill native Jacinta Ryder, who will be the call centre’s deputy manager, said the centre will be a positive boost to the community.
“I am very positive about it and I feel it really needs to be supported because it will bring huge benefits to the area. For people who have left Achill it is a resource to come back to and it will increase the economy of the area which will grow as the company grows. The potential there is huge and once it takes off it will get bigger and bigger. The people are there and I think people will come back to take up positions not just for Achill but for communities outside Achill.”
Local councillor Micheál McNamara who was in contact with some of the Sattelco personnel said the call centre will be very welcome and he hopes that it goes ahead.
Sattelco will provide an information night in Óstán Oileán Acla on January 7; Áras Inis Gluaire, Belmullet on January 8 and in the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar on January 9, all starting at 8pm. Sattelco is also online at www.sattelco.com.
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