The North East business community is pulling together to put on an event to support people who have been affected by the recent collapse at Thomas Cook.

Connect Health, in association with Newcastle College and supported by the North East CIPD along with other businesses, will offer free sessions to support former Thomas Cook staff in finding new roles and careers in the North East.

Out of the 9,000 UK staff impacted, around 4,000 were employed in Thomas Cook’s 563 retail outlets and a number of these are based in the North East.

Kelly Ates, deputy manager at the Gateshead branch, spent 27 years at Thomas Cook. She said: “We’re all obviously heartbroken that it has come to this and I’ll miss the team so much. We put so much into our jobs because we loved it at Thomas Cook. This event is a great gesture by the local HR community and I know people will get a lot from it.”

It will be held at Newcastle College, Rye Hill Campus, Scotswood Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 7SA on Thursday 3 October from 10.00 to 14.00.

Lisa Davidson, Chief People Officer, Connect Health said: “I came up with the idea of an employability event after hearing that a friend of mine had lost her job. People feel hugely let down and as I was acutely aware of the excellent HR support we have in the North East region; I went on to galvanise people’s enthusiasm by putting on this pop-up event. I truly hope it goes some way to ease the challenges faced and provides some great practical support.”

The event will include practical workshops and talks on:

  • Interview Skills session 10.30, 11.30, 13.00
  • CV writing – drop is session throughout the day
  • Job searching advice – drop in sessions throughout the day
  • Recruitment stands – all day
  • Financial advice and support – all day

Elouise Leonard-Cross, CIPD Co-Chair, added: “CIPD North East were delighted to be approached by Lisa and Connect Health to support this event. We have a strong and collaborative network of HR professionals in the region and working together to create something that can support staff impacted is a real reflection of that.”

If you know of more organisations who would like to get involved please contact


Media Contact –

Simon Redfern at The Tonic Communications on 0115 8248254 and

Editors notes:

Details of the organisations providing support on the day

  • Newcastle firm Connect Health, established in 1989, is the largest, independent provider of integrated community MSK (musculoskeletal) services in the UK, serving over 300k NHS patients pa across 19 CCGs and 100+ businesses.
  • Concentrix
  • Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance
  • Newcastle College
  • Leonard Cross Group
  • Tesco Bank
  • Hibbert Wealth Management
  • END Clothing
  • Greggs
  • NCFE
  • Womble Bond Dickinson
  • National Careers Service