Big jobs win for capital
City sees off Aussie bids
Up to 300 new jobs are coming to Wellington, with an international customer service centre setting up in the city.
Global outsourcing company Minacs, which operates 35 centres employing more than 21,000 people worldwide, has chosen Wellington for its first base in the southern hemisphere.
From late September, the company, which has headquarters near Toronto, in Canada, will take on 50 people to service Englishspeaking customers in New Zealand, Australia and the AsiaPacific region, on behalf of a global technology company.
Over the next two years, the number will be increased to as many as 300.
Although a number of sites were considered, including Lower Hutt, Minacs is believed to be set to lease office space in the Old Bank Arcade building on Lambton Quay, in the heart of the central business district.
Wellington is understood to have attracted Minacs away from possible locations in Australia, where it was originally scouting.
Keith Callahan, Minacs’ global chief delivery officer, said the company was looking forward ‘‘to contribut[ing] in our small way’’ to the Wellington community.
‘‘We will be looking for candidates with experience in customer service, excellent computer skills, and willingness to work in flexible schedules,’’ Callahan said.
The new jobs are being described as ‘‘entry level’’, as a first job for those wanting to enter the technology sector.
Negotiations have been under way with the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (Wreda) since late last year.
Although financial terms have not been revealed, Wreda chief executive Chris Whelan said Wellington would be contributing towards the costs of training new employees, with no direct subsidy to Minacs.
It follows the fallout from the departure of Australian call centre operator CallActive, which collapsed into liquidation in late 2015.
As well as 60 job losses, the collapse forced Wellington City Council to write off a $300,000 loan which it gave to CallActive to help attract it to the city. Part of the loan was written off when the company met job targets.
‘‘It’s fair to say hard lessons have been learned in Wellington around deals of this nature, and we have applied those lessons this time around,’’ Whelan said, describing the level of financial support as ‘‘very small’’.
‘‘Wreda and Minacs’ partnership goes directly into upskilling local people, meaning the investment is embedded in them.
‘‘Minacs’ new delivery centre allows them to immediately put their new skills to work, strengthening Wellington’s economy.’’
Wellington Mayor Celia WadeBrown said the agreement with Minacs would provide jobs for hundreds of Wellingtonians.
‘‘It’s a ground-floor investment in our people, which will be returned many times over in the years ahead.’’
Deputy Mayor Justin Lester said that, as well as creating new jobs, the announcement would be a ‘‘shot in the arm’’ for other businesses in the city.
‘‘This is brilliant news for Wellington, for local retailers and for creating a dense and vibrant CBD.’’
Minacs is believed to be set to lease office space in the Old Bank Arcade building on Lambton Quay.