Atelka Looking to Employ 400 People in Sarnia by March

The Sarnia Observer (October 6, 2014) -- The area's newest call centre is beefing up its workforce

Atelka, which opened its Sarnia centre at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park earlier this year, is now planning to increase its employee complement to 400 by March. Currently about 200 people are on payroll at the Montreal-based company's Sarnia site, working on behalf of client Rogers.

Site director Jenn Bell said she credits Sarnia's call-centre-literate workforce for the site's success.

Our customer satisfaction performance has been phenomenal since day one, said Bell.

Atelka, founded in 2003, employs about 2,000 people across seven sites in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and PEI.

Its installment in Sarnia spelled some relief after the area's NCO call centre closed its doors in 2012, putting 500 people out of work.

With the expanded workforce, Atelka in Sarnia is taking on some added responsibilities for Rogers, Bell said.

They've entrusted us to ramp two of their very high-profile lines of business, which we currently don't have, she said.

She didn't specify exactly what those are, or what employees currently do on behalf of Rogers, explaining the information is kept confidential to protect the employer/client relationship.

But what I can tell you is they're very end-of-the-line touchpoints for Rogers, she said about the new lines. There really isn't anywhere else that the clients and customers can go after speaking with us.

The expansion is good news for Sarnia, said George Mallay with the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership.

We've been struggling with our unemployment rate and adding another (200) jobs is definitely welcome news to the local economy, he said.

Sarnia-Lambton's unemployment rate for June, the most recent data available, was 9.3% according to the Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board.

Atelka company officials are discussing whether boosting the number of workers will require an expansion to the call centre space, Bell said. Currently there are 270 work stations occupying one floor at the research park.

Atelka had targeted 300 employees when it initially opened in March

Bell said the company has potential to grow even more in Sarnia, or elsewhere in Ontario, depending on job applications and performance.

The most important thing is getting the successful candidates to come through the door, retaining those candidates and continuing to perform as best as we can, she said.

Prospective qualified applicants can learn more by contacting Emily at 1-877-448-4905 ext. 4512, or visiting the site.

- Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer