A FRENCH company will create 300 jobs when it opens a new customer support centre in Leeds.
The £1m centre will serve customers paying to use the Dartford Crossing and will be operated by tolling firm Sanef.
The investment was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg during a speech in Leeds yesterday at a business conference linked to the Tour de France.
Leeds City Council leader Keith Wakefield said: “I am really pleased to be able to welcome Sanef to their chosen location of St Johns.
“Job creation is crucial for sustainable economic growth and we have high aspirations in this area, particularly when getting our young people off to a flying start.
“The apprenticeship programme will give at least ten youngsters a great start in life for 2014 and who knows how many more in the next few years.
“A further 300 people will enjoy a brand new opportunity with a global employer.
“What a great win for Leeds alongside the momentous occasion that is the Tour De France.”
The service centre will allow people to pay before or after they use the Dartford Crossing rather than stopping at barriers in a move designed to reduce congestion.
Charles Hewson, chief executive at Sanef Operations, said, “We are delighted to have been awarded such a prestigious project and look forward to working on delivering an excellent solution for both the motorist and the Highways Agency.
“Leeds has been chosen due to its significant experience in contact centre operations along with its highly skilled and educated work force and I truly believe this is the start of a long term and mutually beneficial relationship.”
Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Leeds and Partners, the body charged with attracting jobs to the city, said: “We have delivered on some exacting job creation targets over the past 18 months and we’re delighted to collaborate with Sanef to bring the latest development in Leeds to fruition.”
Highways Agency project lead Nigel Gray said the announcement of the new jobs was “proof that the economic gains from the project will be felt far beyond the Dartford Crossing itself.”