A recruitment drive is underway at Peterborough’s Passport Office in a bid to bolster its services.
New figures show the Passport Office, based in Aragon Court, in Northminster, is looking to hire 55 staff.
Civil servants have teamed up with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), which is providing training for people keen to work at the Passport Office
The training is being offered under the DWP’s Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) to help people who are ready to start a job but need support to learn specific skills.
SWAP aims to help claimants build confidence to improve their job prospects and enhance their CV, whilst helping employers fill vacancies.
The DWP says it has supported 27 people this week alone with the application process and interview procedures for the Passport Office in Peterborough.
The DWP says 55 jobs were available.
The recruitment drive comes just a few months after the Passport Office service was fiercely criticised for lengthy delays processing passport renewal applications and failures to hit its 10 weeks target time.
The delays prompted claims from some MPs that people were being forced to cancel holidays because they had not been able to get a new passport in time.
The delays were blamed on Passport Office bosses being caught out by the nationwide surge in demand for overseas holidays as Covid-19 pandemic regulations forbidding foreign travel were lifted and Brexit travel rules gradually came into force.
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, who has previously praised Passport Office staff during a House of Commons’ debate, said: “It’s clear we need more staff to deal with the passport backlog caused by Covid.
“The staff at Peterborough are doing a great job.
“To be honest, I am getting a bit fed up with opposition MPs being overly critical of hardworking staff here in Peterborough and elsewhere.
Mr Bristow added: “I know people are frustrated and the backlogs have affected my family too.
“Let’s get the extra staff recruited and get on with the job.”
The Home Office has been contacted for a response.