Royal Mail will take on an additional 19,000 employees for the Christmas peak season, 2,600 of whom are intended for its Parcelforce operation.

The bulk of the 19,000 temporary workers will be employed to sort Christmas cards and small parcels to help the service handle the additional peak-time volume between mid-November and early January.

The extra numbers for Royal Mail will be distributed throughout the UK, with 14,000 in England, 1,340 in Scotland, 564 in Wales and 550 in Northern Ireland.

An additional 260 drivers are included in the 2,600 extra staff Parcelforce will also take on for the peak season.

Royal  Mail said it is confident it will be able to fill these places despite the ongoing skills shortage affecting the industry.

Sue Whalley, Royal Mail’s chief operations officer, said: “Christmas is our busiest time of year. We plan all year round to help ensure we deliver the best possible service for consumers and businesses in the UK.

“Every Christmas, we make a substantial commitment in additional resources to handle the festive mailbag, including the recruitment of thousands of temporary workers.”

Royal Mail has launched a dedicated website where people can apply for the temporary roles.