The firm which stepped in to save Thomas Cook’s travel agents from closure has announced plans to take on another 1,500 workers.

Hays Travel, which is already hiring 2,500 former Thomas Cook staff, is looking to fill 200 new posts at its HQ in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, and needs 500 staff to handle foreign currency at its stores across the UK.

The company is also recruiting an apprentice at each of its 737 branches.

Husband and wife owners John and Irene Hays have so far employed and offered permanent contracts to 2,330 former Thomas Cook workers, following the collapse of the travel giant in September.

They are also recruiting people for their new stores, with 450 branches opening in just six weeks.

John Hays, founder and managing director, and Irene Hays

Mr Hays, managing director, said: “We’re further increasing staffing to ensure we have the highest customer service levels across all of our stores and our head office.

“These are fantastic permanent career opportunities for people who want to take a step into an exciting industry where every day is different. You don’t necessarily need travel experience – just an enthusiasm for travel and a good head for numbers for the foreign exchange posts.

“Some customer service experience of any kind would be helpful.”

Thomas Cook was forced to cease trading after it no buyer could be found

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There are now 737 Hays Travel shops, and the firm has 4,200 permanent staff and aims for 5,700.

Mrs Hays last month said: “We are committed to the high street.” Mr Hays added: “The internet is not going to take 100% of the market.

It still leaves  a very, very, very big chunk of business for the high street agent.”