By Ian McConnell

SCOTTISH outsourced customer services provider Ascensos is to create 100 jobs over the next three months with the opening of a Stranraer base, as part of plans to recruit 500 people for six new hubs.

Announcing the Stranraer hub, Ascensos chief executive John Devlin said: “We know a lack of job prospects for young people in the area is a real concern, and we are setting out to change that.”

Motherwell-based Ascensos, which employs around 3,000 people across operations in Glasgow, the Isle of Wight, Bucharest and Istanbul, said Stranraer would be the first of what was expected to be six “local hubs” in the UK.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Refusal to celebrate Scotland’s success is sorry sign of times

A spokeswoman noted Ascensos, which has B&Q, KFC and Peloton as clients, could not say at this stage how many of the other new hubs would be in Scotland. Ascensos said the hubs would “bring high-quality digital jobs to rural communities, with staff working mainly from home”.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Reports of Scottish economic collapse are much exaggerated

Asked how Ascensos’s total workforce compared with that pre-pandemic, the spokeswoman replied: “Around 1,000 new jobs have been created over the last month, taking the total Europe-wide workforce to 3,000 versus 2,000 pre-pandemic.”

Mr Devlin said: "This new hub will bring 100 permanent jobs to Stranraer and the surrounding area, and we predict the local economic impact of these new jobs will be incredibly positive.

“The new jobs we are creating will offer a variety of opportunities, and not just for young people. This type of role is ideal for people returning to the job market after a break, and for those looking to switch career. Galloway is a place I know well, and Stranraer was top of the list of Scottish towns we wanted to invest in. It offers an amazing quality of life that dovetails perfectly with a working from home career. As a company we also understand the importance of community. The community spirit in Stranraer is inspiring and it’s something we very much want to be part of."

He added: "The massive shift we’ve seen towards working from home over the last 18 months opens up opportunities for creating jobs in different ways and in many different locations. We see particular potential in small towns and rural communities. So, we are seizing that opportunity...ensuring that the growth of our company creates good quality digital jobs and economic value in rural communities across the UK.”

Romano Petrucci, who chairs Stranraer Development Trust, said: “This is the most fantastic boost to Stranraer and we look forward to supporting John and his team as they go about creating jobs for countless people and families in the area. We have always said that Stranraer is a place of untapped potential, and it’s wonderful to see a fast-growing company like Ascensos investing in Stranraer and its people.

“Stranraer, like so many places, has taken a real knock over this past 18 months. The creation of so many new jobs by a company with a clear track record of success, and a culture that is committed to supporting the local community, is the kind of news that many towns could only dream about. There are exciting times ahead and we should all welcome John and his team to the area.”

The Stranraer hub will be based at South Strand Street and will be operational from September, Ascensos noted, adding that a recruitment base would be located in Dumfries and Galloway College’s Stranraer campus from this week.