A MAJOR jobs boost is expected for a remote part of the country after a UK company revealed plans to open a call centre in Mayo.
Achill Island will benefit from up to 150 new jobs this year after London-based Sattelco Communications began holding recruitment drives in the area for a planned call centre.
Gary McDonald, owner of Sattelco, said the company would start out with 150 employees in 2013 but was already eyeing expansion with the potential for 1,500 jobs.
"We will be starting off with 150 jobs . . . We are confident that these jobs will increase by a multiple of 10 in the future," he said.
"We chose Achill because I believe when you choose rural sites people appreciate it a lot more and work harder for it. It simply seemed sensible to me."
Sattelco was launched as a new communications provider in 2012 with the aim of bringing more competition to the telecoms and broadcasting industry within the UK and Ireland.
The company plans to start a training programme by the middle of February and expects the full-time jobs and shift work to start as soon as the mobile service launches in April.
The company, which was set up last year, plans to provide broadcasting, telephone and broadband services in the UK and Ireland using the BT fibre optic lines. It also plans to launch its own 3G mobile phone service, Plus Mobile, by April of this year.
The call centre will initially look after the Pulse Mobile arm of the company with a starting workforce of up to 40 employees. This is expected to grow to up to 150 by the end 2013.
The news has been widely welcomed in the area which has struggled with unemployment and emigration. In 2008, Contact 4, a call centre operating in Achill Sound, closed with the loss of 36 jobs.
Sattelco has been liaising with Udaras na Gaeltachta ( Gaeltacht Authority) since June of this year. It is in talks with the body about locating the call centre in the Udaras na Gaeltachta building in Achill Sound.
However, a spokeswoman said they were also considering a number of other potential sites in the area.
Sattelco will provide a number of information nights in Mayo next week with events in Ostan Oilean Acla on January 7; Aras Inis Gluaire, Belmullet, on January 8 and in the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar on January 9, all starting at 8pm. For more information visit www. sattelco.com.