AROUND 300 new jobs are to be created in Ellesmere Port, marking the first significant new-hire programme at Vauxhall in a decade.

As its business grows and with another new model on the horizon, Vauxhall has confirmed that it will take on 500 new employees – 300 at its Astra plant in Ellesmere Port and 250 at Luton.

The Ellesmere Port site currently operates on two shifts but as sales volumes build more employees are required to cope with increased output at the facility.

The new jobs will be phased in over the first quarter of 2015.

In 2012, Ellesmere Port won the contract to build the next generation Astra. Production of this model begins towards the end of 2015.

The agreement runs into the next decade and secured £125 million investment.

At the Luton facility, 250 new jobs will be created with the introduction of a second shift. The site builds the recently launched Vivaro van.

Tim Tozer, Vauxhall’s chairman and managing director, said: “This is great news for Vauxhall and for British manufacturing.

“Both of our UK manufacturing plants have won long contracts with all-new products and as the business strengthens, we now need to take on more people to build these exciting new Vauxhalls.”