Big jobs win for cap­i­tal

City sees off Aussie bids

The Dominion Post - - Front Page - HAMISH RUTHER­FORD

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.

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