Travel Counsellors is taking on more than 30 former Thomas Cook agents who will launch leisure travel businesses from home or shared offices before the end of November.

The homeworking firm is running back-to-back induction courses over the next two months to meet demand from staff who had lost their jobs following Cook’s collapse in September.

Travel Counsellors has also employed two former Thomas Cook regional managers to support the new recruits.

Darren Bien, previously Birmingham and Bristol regional sales manager, and Jayne Marlor, previously Manchester central regional sales manager from Thomas Cook, have become TC liaison officers at Travel Counsellors.

Having worked for Thomas Cook for a combined period of 61 years, Bien and Marlor’s new roles include helping ex-colleagues to consider career options available across the industry.

Bien said: “It’s been fantastic to be able to continue to support my fellow colleagues from Thomas Cook in my new role at Travel Counsellors.

“Our teams meant the world to us – they were and always will be our family.

“I continue to feel a strong connection and responsibility to the brilliant people I worked with for many years, and both Jayne and I have been in touch with hundreds of our colleagues to not only help them to consider the opportunities available to them at Travel Counsellors, but encourage them to take the time to pause and reflect on their next career move, wherever this may take them.”

Marlor added: “I have been absolutely blown away by the warm welcome we’ve received at Travel Counsellors, and the strong ethos of care that runs through the heart of the company community.

“It’s also opened my eyes to the idea that running a business from a home doesn’t mean that you are working alone.

“There is huge sense of team spirit fostered between the Manchester support team and Travel Counsellor business owners across the UK and beyond.”

Sharon Antill is one of the latest ex-Cook employees to join Travel Counsellors after being made redundant from her role as sales consultant at the Birmingham New Street store after a 20-year career with the company.

She commented: “When…I was officially made redundant it felt like my whole world had collapsed.

“I decided it was now or never to launch my own business so that I could continue to look after my customers.

“I have been able to hit the ground running by using the company’s technology platform to tailor-make travel experiences for my customers.

“Before finishing the initial training course with Travel Counsellors I already had my first booking in the bag.

“After going through a traumatic few weeks with the loss of everything I knew and loved, I’m now really excited about what my future holds.”

The recruitment of former Cook agents comes as Travel Counsellors reports a 10% increase in global sales year-on-year.

Steve Byrne, chief executive, said: “With 20% of Travel Counsellor business owners already hailing from the Thomas Cook community in the last five years, we’re keen to ensure new joiners feel at home.

“We feel a real synergy between the customer-first focus our new business owners from Thomas Cook hold dear, and the people-first approach we champion at Travel Counsellors, nurturing a community of like-minded, caring travel professionals who support and look out for each other, and our customers.”

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