A pioneering call centre business that aims to create approximately 10,000 jobs for the unemployed was officially launched in Croydon last week. The company is the brainchild of social entrepreneur Karen Darby and is being backed by over £1 million of new investment.
The company aims to open ten new call centres across the UK over the next seven years, giving 10,000 staff a minimum of six months’ employment, and equipping them with the skills, accredited training, support and work experience needed to provide clients with a first-class service. Following this ‘incubation period’, Call Britannia will help its ‘graduates’ to find work using their newly acquired skills and experience.
Its offices will be based in some of the country’s most economically challenged areas and Call Britannia will provide sustainable employment, as well as a high-quality service to customers. Six new recruits, all previously long-term unemployed, have started on the Call Britannia training scheme, with a further eighteen joining before the end of the year.
Organisations in both the private and public sector will be encouraged to sub-contract work from their contact centres to Call Britannia. As well as the measurable benefits from such an approach, partner organisations will also have the opportunity to recruit trained and skilled Call Britannia ‘graduates’ at no cost.
The venture is being backed by over £1million of new investment. The Bridges Ventures’ ‘Social Entrepreneurs Fund’ has committed to invest £500k into Call Britannia and Big Issue Invest has committed to invest £350k. A further £292,500 has been awarded by the government’s Future Jobs Fund and a further £150k of the investment will come from the management team headed by social entrepreneur and Call Britannia’s founder Karen Darby (pictured above).
Karen Darby, Founder of Call Britannia, said,“Call Britannia will be a contact centre business with a conscience. This is a truly unique venture that comes not a moment to soon for the UK. Our aim is simple, to create 10,000 new jobs and employ the unemployed. We’re passionately committed to providing sustainable work opportunities for those who need it most. Almost two-and-a-half million are now out of work in this country, including almost a million of our young people, the highest levels for many years. People are paying a terrible price for the recession.
“We believe we can be highly successful commercially, while at the same time delivering a huge benefit to the local community and the individuals who work for us. Rather than avoid the worse-off areas of the UK, we’ll base ourselves directly in them.“
Jim Knight, Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform said,”The Government has invested £1 billion into the Future Jobs Fund to get young people and those in areas of high unemployment into work. I am delighted that Call Britannia is using this fund to help create some 10,000 new jobs across the country. The new jobs will be based in unemployment hotspots across the UK and will enable young people and the long-term unemployed to get experience that will really boost their long-term employment prospects. Details on how to apply are available through any local Jobcentre Plus.”