THE company which operates the Mersey Gateway bridge tolls is helping people get back into work.

Merseyflow now employs 180 people, with 95 per cent of its employees living in Halton.

The firm, which has a call centre on Manor Park, is working closely with Halton Council and is a member of Halton Enterprise Partnership.

Through the partnership’s Ways to Work programme, Merseyflow offers people a chance to get back into the workforce as a specialist team provides them with interview skills and advice on preparing and submitting a CV.

People then complete a six-week customer service course and are provided with maths, English and computer skills.

Merseyflow has hired more than 50 people who have completed the course.

Beatriz Fuentes, HR manager at Merseyflow parent company emovis, said: “Since we started we have recruited 180 employees, some from other areas of the workforce and some from long-term unemployment.

"More than 95 per cent of our employees live in the Halton area which means Merseyflow is helping contribute to the local economy too.

“This means we’re providing people with help for that vital first step back into work.”

Michelle Dalton, 49, from Runcorn, started work at the Merseyflow call centre last year and has now moved into its fleet services team.

She said:“The course provided guidance on preparing my CV and also allowed me to refresh my interview skills. It made a big difference.

“Since I started with Merseyflow I have really grown in confidence. On a personal level it’s been really good for me.

“I work with a really diverse group of people who range in age from 18 to 65. We all get a buzz from each other. In terms of a place to work it’s fun and I really enjoy it.”

Laurie Hamblett, 51, from Runcorn, works as a call centre handler at Merseyflow’s Runcorn contact centre, dealing with incoming calls from customers paying for their trips across the bridge.

She said: “There’s a great sense of team work in the call centre. You can speak to any manager if you have any issue and they’ll always help you.

“The best thing about the company is the strong team spirit and work ethic. It’s one of the best companies I’ve worked for in terms of them being there to help you."

Alison Bowen, from Halton Council’s Employment, Learning and Skills Division, said: “Participants in the programme have developed skills to place them in the best possible position to apply for vacancies and to be successful in securing employment with Emovis.

“Individuals have been provided with information, advice and guidance through a range of programmes to further support them into their new jobs.”