Germany calling: retail giant Primark is seeking Irish workers for its German stores

Primark, the well-known Irish-based retailer behind the Penneys brand here, is offering unemployed people the chance to "export" themselves to work in its German stores.

In a move which it says is aimed at bringing the "Irish DNA" to these outlets, the budget fashion retailer last week placed advertisements in its stores seeking applications from experienced shop assistants for temporary posts in Bremen and Frankfurt.

It says it will meet all flights and accommodation costs, with successful applicants also paid a daily "living allowance".

A company spokeswoman said newly hired staff will receive the same wages as their German co-workers, and can expect to earn around €350 a week gross, with the possibility of additional overtime earnings.

A notice placed in the Penneys store on Henry Street in Dublin states that contracts are available from mid-October until mid-December 2010.

"If you have previous retail or customer service experience and an ambition to work abroad, this could be the ideal opportunity for you," the notice adds.

Primark expects to receive applications from both existing Penneys staff looking to spend time abroad, and other Irish-based individuals who may currently be unemployed or looking to switch jobs. It says it will have more jobs available in advance of new stores opening in Gelsenkirchen and Hanover.

The company spokeswoman said it has already screened a "couple of hundred" initial applications made through its website, and has a total of 40 positions available initially.

"We're developing a business in Europe, and part and parcel of that is we want to bring the Irish DNA to those stores. There is real quality available in the (Irish) market," she said.

"Employees are recruited in Ireland, assigned to a store in Germany, either Bremen or Frankfurt and complete their induction and training programme in the relevant store."

"The company pays for all expenses – flights, hotel accommodation and provides a subsistence allowance… German language is an advantage but not essential."

While a total of 83 Penneys or Primark employees have embarked on careers internationally by permanently relocating, Primark says this is the first time it has offered the relocation opportunities to external applicants.

Overall, 800 of its employees have assisted in store openings in Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany and Belgium.

"I am aware that some people will begin travelling next week. My understanding is that we have had a number of German people living in Ireland who have also applied," the spokeswoman added.