Hays Travel has launched a recruitment drive for an extra 1,500 new staff and apprentices.
The roles include 200 new posts at the company’s head office in Sunderland and 500 handling foreign currency in each of the new Hays stores around the UK.
There will also be an apprentice taken on at each of the agency’s 737 branches over the coming months.
Joint owners John and Irene Hays have so far employed and offered permanent contracts to 2,330 former Thomas Cook employees after Hays Travel acquired Cook’s 555-store retail estate in October.
Around 450 ex-Cook branches have opened in six weeks.
Hays Travel said it was in negotiations with landlords “across the UK” and where it was necessary would “extend and enhance” building leases beyond their existing terms.
If filled, the additional posts will give Hays Travel a national workforce of 5,700.
Recruitment, the company said, was for staff from a range of different backgrounds including those from outside the industry but who “have an interest and passion for travel and would like to work for a company that values its people first”.
Managing director John Hays said the recruitment drive had been launched to “ensure we have the highest customer service levels across all of our stores and our head office functions”.
“These are fantastic permanent career opportunities for people who want to take a step into an exciting industry where every day is different. You don’t necessarily need travel experience – just an enthusiasm for travel, a good head for numbers for the foreign exchange posts and some customer service experience of any kind would be helpful.”
The Hays Travel Academy will provide training for those new to the industry, who may be in a job by Christmas, while apprentices will go through a two-year apprenticeship programme.
“I’m delighted that we will create 200 more permanent jobs in the heart of Sunderland’s city centre, joining 500 people already at our newly opened head office building. They will have the same empowerment and trust that we give all of our colleagues,” Hays added.
“The former Thomas Cook managers have said the biggest difference for them is being empowered and valued – as an independent travel agent they are not tied to certain products or scripts and they feel trusted. This is a key principle of our business.”