Company that saved Thomas Cook workers creates another 1,500 jobs

Dated: 09/10/2019 HAYS TRAVEL BUYS THOMAS COOK STORES ... John Hays, Founder and Managing director, and Irene Hays, Chair of Hays Travel Group, pictured at the Hays Travel HQ in Sunderland today (WED) after announcing that Hays Travel have agreed to buy all 555 Thomas Cook high street shops, potentially saving up to 2,500 jobs. See story and VIDEO by North News
John and Irene Hayes announce plans to hire an extra 1,500 staff after saving Thomas Cook workers (Picture: North News)

The new owner of collapsed travel company Thomas Cook is on a major recruitment drive after already offering permanent contracts to all former employees.

Hays Travel, the UK’s largest independent travel firm, has created 1,500 jobs and apprenticeships, signalling a vote of confidence in the future of the package holiday industry.

The nationwide search for staff includes 200 posts at their head office in Sunderland, and a further 500 jobs handling foreign currency at stores across the UK.

The company, which snapped up Thomas Cook when it went into administration last month, is also recruiting an apprentice at each of its 737 branches.

Joint owners John and Irene Hays have so far employed and offered permanent contracts to 2,330 former Thomas Cook workers.

Dated: 09/10/2019 HAYS TRAVEL BUYS THOMAS COOK STORES ... John Hays, Founder and Managing director, and Irene Hays, Chair of Hays Travel Group, pictured at the Hays Travel HQ in Sunderland today (WED) after announcing that Hays Travel have agreed to buy all 555 Thomas Cook high street shops, potentially saving up to 2,500 jobs. See story and VIDEO by North News
Hays Travel bough all 555 Thomas Cook high street shops after the company went into administration
(Picture: North News)

Mr Hayes said: ‘We’re further increasing staffing to ensure we have the highest customer service levels across all of our stores and our head office functions.

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‘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.’

Hayes opened 450 stores within six weeks of saving Thomas Cook.

Their Travel Academy is offering training for people with no experience in the industry and say some successful candidates could start their new job before Christmas.

Apprentices will undergo two years of training through an accredited apprenticeship scheme.

Undated handout file photo issued by Thomas Cook Airlines of some of their planes. Planes owned by failed airlines will be used to repatriate passengers under plans announced by the Government. PA Photo. Issue date: Saturday October 12, 2019. New legislation would enable collapsed carriers to be placed in special administration, meaning their aircraft and crew can continue flying to bring customers back to the UK. Under the existing system, when an airline goes bust its planes are grounded, leaving passengers at risk of being stranded. See PA story AIR ThomasCook. Photo credit should read: Thomas Cook/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
The recruitment drive is a boost for the package holiday sector after Britain’s oldest travel firm collapsed last month (Picture:PA)

The first Hayes stores opened 40 years ago in Sunderland, but the business rapidly spread to become the country’s largest independent travel firm.

The company now has 737 travel shops and employees 4,200 people on permanent contracts.

In the wake of Thomas Cook’s high profile collapse, Ryanair boss Micheal O’Leary said the package holiday industry was ‘screwed’.

But defending their recruitment drive, Managing Director Mr Hayes suggested corporate culture was to blame for the UK’s oldest travel company going bankrupt.

He said: ‘They [staff]  will have the same empowerment and trust that we give all of our colleagues.

‘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.

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‘This is a key principle of our business.’

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