Hays Travel is recruiting for 669 travel agent apprentices to work in its retail stores.

Hays is recruiting for roles in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales for the first time, following its takeover of Thomas Cook’s retail network at the end of last year.

The agency is also recruiting for 30 apprenticeship roles at its head office in Sunderland.

Retail apprentices who successfully complete the two-year programme will be offered a permanent job.

The company said it is looking for people who are “passionate about travel and want a career that is going places”.

Since 2015, Hays has taken on more than 860 apprentices.

Hays has employed 3,000 shop staff since taking over the leases of Thomas Cook’s 553 stores – around 500 more than were employed by the travel giant before its collapse.

It has opened 461 of the 553 former Thomas Cook shops so far.

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Managing director John Hays said: “Apprentices are at the heart of our business and are the future of the travel industry.

“We have always placed huge value on bringing young people into the business, not least because they bring innovative ideas and in-depth knowledge in technology and online, helping us drive Hays Travel forward.

“We are looking forward to expanding our apprenticeship programme across the whole of the UK and ensuring we have apprentices in each branch.”

Victoria Hill, Hays Travel’s head of recruitment, said: “We are looking for individuals who have passion, drive, and enthusiasm. We aim to develop our apprentices to their full potential, both during the apprenticeship and afterwards – many of our current management team started as apprentices.”

Podcast – John and Irene Hays