MORE than 40 new jobs have been created at Bute's largest private sector employer after the extension of a contract with a major office supplies company.
The jobs increase comes from an extension of HEROtsc's contract with their Bute contact centre's current client, Office Depot – and is a major boost to the local economy.
HEROtsc chief executive David Turner praised the skills and dedication of the company's Rothesay staff, whose professionalism he said was kep to the decision of Office Depot to expand its role at the Rothesay centre.
The contract extension means more people are now employed at the Rothesay contact centre than before the DVD rental company LoveFilm decided last year to move its contract away from the island.
"This is a very significant win – not just for HEROtsc but for the whole community in Bute," Mr Turner said.
"We are very aware of how important HEROtsc is to Bute and how vital are the employment opportunities we bring.
"We fully appreciate just what a blow it was to the island when a former client took some of our jobs elsewhere last year.
"But I am delighted we have turned things round so well and this win will not only replace these jobs but will actually increase the company's Rothesay headcount to over the 100 mark.
"Bringing such a significant number of new jobs to a community like this – in these difficult economic times – is a great achievement, and one I hope we can build on.
"Office Depot is an instantly recognisible brand and the fact that we have secured increased business from a leading company like this is a tremendous tribute to our staff.
"We are very proud to be expanding our business and our role in the Bute community. Our current staff have been a credit to the company in the way they have performed so well on the Office Depot account and we look forward to our new recruits carrying on with the same standard of top-quality professionalism."
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has provided financial assistance worth 366,000 to the business over the next three years to help bring the new posts to Bute.
HIE's area manager Douglas Cowan said: "HIE has worked very closely with this business from its earliest days and it's great to see it continuing to play an important role in providing good local jobs on Bute.
"Modern telecommunications such as broadband mean that rural and island areas in Scotland are ideal sites for contact centres.
"Initiatives such as this also help us to improve diversity in the local economy and expand the range of employment opportunities available to local people."
Enterprise minister and Argyll and Bute MSP Jim Mather also welcomed the news, adding: "In all my dealings with HEROtsc, I have sensed their genuine sense of partnership with local communities, so I am delighted to see this latest example of that approach happening on Bute, where these jobs will make a big positive difference"
Telecom Service Centres, as they were then known, first opened in Bute in the early 90s with seven employees and quickly expanded into a major player in the contact centre sector.
Their Office Depot contract was originally signed with the company's UK subsidiary, Viking Direct, in August 2009, and employed 50 staff at the Rothesay centre.
The LoveFilm contract, signed in 2007, was ended in September of last year after the rental firm announced it wanted to move to a contact centre with a "multi-lingual capability".