Online retail giant says it plans to bring more than 200 jobs to Welwyn Garden City

09:47 26 October 2012

The new Ocado site in WGC

The new Ocado site in WGC

Archant

ONLINE shopping giant Ocado is set to create around 200 jobs at a new £5million state-of-the-art depot in WGC.

The Hatfield based firm has converted Aquarius House, on Beesemer Road, to store and distribute non-food stock with a robotic sorting device driving the project.

It is thought the AutoStore, will be the first of its kind in the country, with the new site potentially creating new office and warehouse jobs in the coming years.

James Matthews, head of non-food at Ocado, said: “It has been a little bit under the radar, we have a very big competitor close by in town.

“When we moved to the building we kept it under the radar, it is not a secret – we will talk about it when we launch.”

And Mr Matthews said he was confident it would be a huge boost to the local economy, stating: “As the business goes well we will be hiring pretty consistently.

“We will need 30-40 operational staff from day one, some of that will be internal some will be external - I hope it will have a good impact on the economy.”

Around 35 office staff are already based in the building but it is thought that 200 could be there, including warehouse staff.

They will be working with the AutoStore’s tiny 31 robots, which scoot atop the five metre device grabbing and moving boxes after a customer makes an order.

Whereas mechanisation often means job losses, the company predicts that as the machine is extended more roles will be created.

Pete Lock, operations manager, said: “When we extent and increase the size of the AutoStore we will be looking to hire quickly.

“We will [look to hire locally] in Hatfield, we always look for local staff.”

The vast mechanised picker has already been installed and it is thought the depot will be fully operational in the first quarter of next year.

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