Spark signals jobs boost as BT hires more apprentices

BT is hiring more apprentices. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
BT is hiring more apprentices. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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Spark, the Borders-based energy supplier hoping to break the stranglehold of the Big Six, is looking to take on at least 100 more staff by the end of the year.

The firm’s pledge came as telecoms giant BT said it was creating 76 new apprenticeships in Scotland as part of a drive to recruit budding tech talent.

The twin announcements came as it emerged that Scotland’s jobless total rose by 5,000 between November and January to stand at just over 118,000, taking the country’s unemployment rate to 4.3 per cent – the same as the UK as a whole.

Spark, which also announced a £1.5 million investment in digital technology, revealed that at least 100 more staff would be hired at its Selkirk headquarters by the end of 2018, taking total headcount to more than 500.

Established in 2007, the firm now has in excess of 400,000 customer accounts and also works with letting and estate agents, large social landlords and property managers. Last year, Spark acquired telecoms provider Home Telecom in a multi-million pound deal.

The firm said its latest investment was focused on bringing “the best possible customer experience” to its customers’ smartphones, tablets and desktops, as well as adding “more value” to the partnerships it has with letting and estate agents across the UK.

Chief executive Chris Gauld said: “This is a bumper month for us, with loads of new digital tech going live after months of hard work by our in-house digital team. We see this as key to bringing down prices and increasing engagement amongst renters, buyers and sellers in the home move chain.

“This stuff is right on the cutting edge of what utilities suppliers should be doing for their customers. But it’s got to be supported by great people and that’s why we’ll be hiring more than 100 people into Spark over the rest of this year.”

The announcement comes shortly after Spark announced a record turnover of £159m in the year to June 2017, up 23 per cent on the previous year.

Meanwhile, BT said its latest 76 trainees in Scotland would be based in locations such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and the EE contact centre in Greenock.

The group has launched a UK-wide plan to employ more than 1,300 people in roles such as TV production, engineering, customer service and cyber-security.

BT Scotland director Brendan Dick said: “This recruitment is more great news for Scotland and a tribute to the quality of our local staff.

“They play a vital role in providing essential products and services for households and businesses across Scotland, as well as being part of these local communities themselves.

“As one of the nation’s leading employers and investors, BT is committed to providing high-quality jobs and careers, and this latest recruitment will help make sure we deliver the best possible services for the people of Scotland.”