Sunderland City Council leader, Graeme Miller; Ian Pattle, general manager of Ocado Group; and Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council.
Rebecca Wayman

Ocado Group could create up to 300 new jobs for Sunderland at historic city centre site

E-commerce business Ocado Group has launched a recruitment drive that will see it create up to 300 new jobs in Sunderland.

The business is holding a series of ‘Get to Know Ocado’ events in the city for people who have applied for roles, as it looks to fill the first 30 positions announced for contact centre advisors and managers.

The online grocery retailer became the first business to take space at THE BEAM, a flagship 59,427 sq ft building in Sunderland’s city centre, inking a 15-year deal to let the top two floors of the building on the former Vaux Brewery site.

Ocado Group is aiming to have its Sunderland operation up and running before the end of 2019 and plans to have people in post by November 2019.

The centre is an additional hub for the company, which has a similar set-up in Hatfield, and will support Ocado’s continued growth.

The recruitment is being overseen by Ocado Group recruitment and attraction manager, Mark Jenkins, who will host the events with colleagues Debbie Wilson, head of service delivery support; Ocado Group contact centre manager, Stephen Lentz, and Sammie Balson, recruitment advisor.

Mark said: “The amazing welcome Ocado Group has been afforded by the people of Sunderland reaffirms our absolute confidence that the city will provide us with a friendly, professional and motivated workforce.

“The adverts for new roles, which will be based at THE BEAM, are already out there and we’re hopeful of attracting a wealth of talent.

“Ocado Group visited and reviewed a whole host of potential sites across the UK before we selected Sunderland for our new base, where we were bowled over by the amenities and the city’s reputation as one of the country’s leading customer service hubs.”

Sunderland City Council has supported Ocado Group since it visited the city in summer 2018, and has worked hand-in-hand with the company to ensure the required infrastructure is in place ahead of its move.

THE BEAM is part of a £500m city centre vision, with the wider city investment total standing at more than £1.5bn to 2030.

As well as the former Vaux Brewery site, the city council is planning major improvements to other parts of the city centre, as well as increased leisure facilities that will create an exciting place to live, work and visit.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “We were absolutely delighted by Ocado Group’s decision to invest in THE BEAM and I am certain that we can repay the company’s commitment to the city by providing it with a motivated, enthusiastic workforce.

“We enjoy a fantastic relationship with Ocado Group and couldn’t be happier that we’ve attracted such an exceptional brand to our city centre. The job ads are out there now, and I would urge people to explore the potential of working for such a progressive, exciting business in the heart of a modern, rapidly developing city.”

Ocado was founded in 2000 and was listed on the stock exchange 10 years later. It is a FTSE 100 business, with sales of £1.6bn, and employs more 15,000 people across the group.

In February, it revealed the creation of an online grocery retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer. The new jobs in Sunderland will provide customer service support to the JV, and the investment in a new facility in the city is another milestone for the company.

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