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Grant clinches decision to open 200-job call centre.

Byline: By Rhodri Evans Western Mail

Washrooms to office plants company PHS is to open a call centre in Carmarthenshire, creating 200 jobs.

Caerphilly-based PHS announced that it is to open a business-to-business contact centre in Ammanford, aided by a Regional Selective Assistance grant from the National Assembly.

The centre is part of PHS's long-term strategy for the development of its telesales operation and the jobs will be created over the next five years.

Peter Cohen, chief executive of the PHS Group, which employs 2,500 staff and has a turnover of pounds 139.9m, said that the quality of the Welsh labour pool was a key factor in the decision to locate the centre in Ammanford.

'We were looking at expanding the telesales operation into a location with the right characteristics to support future growth,' he said. 'We were looking for capacious, high-standard accommodation with ample car parking space, good road and rail links and, most important of all, a large, available, quality labour pool within easy travelling distance.

'The new Ammanford site fulfils all these requirements - point for point - and more.

'We are extremely grateful that the Welsh Assembly Government has offered PHS Regional Selective Assistance to set up a telesales centre there.

'This generous award will bring real economic benefit to Carmarthenshire.'

Mr Cohen said the WDA and Carmarthenshire council had also worked with PHS to bring the new centre about.

'As a result, we now have 14,000 sq ft of custom-built contact centre accommodation which will easily support future growth, bringing 200 new jobs in the next five years,' he said.

'It's obviously very close to Swansea and the M4, and less than one hour away from our Caerphilly head office.

'We know Swansea contact centres have no problems recruiting quality staff, their biggest problem being dealing with the volume of responses to job advertisements.'

Economic Development and Transport Minister Andrew Davies said, 'PHS was looking to expand its operation, which had outgrown its base in Caerphilly, and I'm pleased we have been able to help them, with an RSA grant.

'This move to Ammanford gives PHS both the space and access to a high-quality workforce in the surrounding area that is needed to continue the company's growth.'

The new centre was developed by Carmarthenshire County Council and the WDA as part of a joint venture geared to attract investment into the area and create new job opportunities.

WDA executive director Mike King welcomed the news that PHS was to take up the site.

'PHS is a Welsh success story; it is a dynamic and highly-respected company and will create long-term, sustainable jobs in Ammanford,' he said. 'We are pleased to have worked with PHS to help facilitate this investment which is excellent news for the area and a vote of confidence in the local workforce.'

Carmarthenshire County Council's leader Meryl Gravell said the move was great news for Ammanford.

'CCC is delighted that PHS has chosen Ammanford to expand its customer contact centre operations,' she said. 'PHS will create long-term, sustainable employment for Ammanford.'
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 31, 2004
Words:510
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