THE first wave of staff have started work at a new town centre call centre which will eventually provide 800 jobs.
Saga Insurance started trading in One Priory Square with more than 40 workers taking their first calls from customers last Thursday.
Regeneration company Sea Space held a celebration in the evening at Lacuna Place in Havelock Road to welcome staff from Saga, together with council leader Jeremy Birch and the firm’s directors.
The new offices will accommodate up to 800 people, and the firm has been praised as providing a much-needed boost to the town’s economy.
Recruitment started last October and a further 30 staff completed their training on Monday.
By mid-February the number of staff will reach 100.
Roger Ramsden, chief executive of Saga Insurance, said: “We started last Thursday taking business with the first 45 people who have completed their training.
“We chose Hastings because of the high quality of the new offices, the location and the availability of the local workforce.
“Our finance side also has offices in Folkestone and Ramsgate in Kent so the extension into Hastings is part of our growth.
“We have space for up to 800 staff and by February we will have 100 already.”
Saga specialises in holidays and insurance products for the over 50s.
Mr Ramsden said he was unable to say when the company will have its full staff complement.
He said: “Every week we are actively looking for more people and running training sessions, which take up to six weeks.
“We are confident that we will quickly grow to be the town’s largest private sector employer and in doing so provide a range of jobs and careers for those who want to be part of the Saga success story.
“We are very excited to be opening our new offices in Hastings and are proud of our part in the town’s renaissance.”
Saga was one of the first firms to move into the multi-million pound One Priory Square development, which was opened back in September 2008.
For information about new jobs log onto www.saga.co.uk/hastings