During my 2015 re-election campaign I pledged to carry on the hard work to improve job and apprenticeship opportunities for our communities. Every year I hold a Jobs Fair with the aim of helping people in Hastings and Rye who are struggling to find work to broaden their horizons and learn more about the different local employment and training opportunities. And this year was no different.
Our area has many growing businesses which are looking for staff, and new jobs and apprenticeships are being created across the constituency and East Sussex on an almost daily basis.
But, for many who are unemployed, it often remains challenging to find the right opportunities; this is where I believe my Jobs and Apprenticeship Fairs really do help.
Last Friday, I held my 5th Fair at Sussex Coast College where hundreds of young unemployed residents attended and met with a wide range of employers offering jobs, apprenticeships, training and work experience. There were a series of training seminars during the day, including on CV writing and one-to-one careers advice.
Hastings Works organised mock interview sessions throughout the day with excellent advice and feedback on how to give the winning interview and improve your chances of landing the best job. In total almost 40 different organisations exhibited at the event.
Many of Hastings and Rye’s biggest employers took part, including Hastings Works, Amicus Horizon, Saga, Let’s Do Business, ASL Recruitment, Royal Air Force, Marshall Tufflex Ltd, Aldi Stores Ltd, East Sussex County Council, Hastings Independent Press and Hastings Direct. I’m grateful to each and every one of them. A full list of exhibitors can be found here: http://www.hastingsjobsfair.co.uk/companies
I hope all those who attended the fair found it beneficial. I felt that the day went extremely well- some of the employers I spoke to reported that they had arranged interviews and I will be staying in touch with those young people to find out how many of them secure jobs as a result of this event.
Many others told me that they had made contacts with businesses seeking to recruit, or had been offered an interview – this is excellent news!
They told me the event really helped them to find out what they wanted to do, making them aware of the range of opportunities in our area, and that it helped them work out what they want to do next.
One student sought me out to tell me that this year’s Job Fair was a great way to meet companies face-to-face for the first time and make a good first impression, instead of waiting for responses through the application process.
Many of those who attended will now be submitting their applications to companies who were at the Fair, whilst others are now exploring new opportunities through a university or college.
Lots of people signed up to get more experience via the voluntary opportunities on offer. For example, The Prince’s Trust were able to sign up 25 people who wanted to find out more about the organisation including 7 new referrals to Talent Match- a Big Lottery Fund project that helps young people aged 18 to 24 who are out of work for more than 12 months.
There was also strong representation from CXK, a charity which delivers the National Citizen Service in our local area, highlighting the need for young people to gain experience in a new role and improve their CV so that they are in a strong position when applying for the job they want.
Key to securing our towns’ regeneration and economic growth is ensuring that youth unemployment is as low as can be, and that young people have opportunities right from the start – the latest figures show that now unemployment is down by 53% since I was first elected as your local MP, but there is still more to do.
This is why I was delighted to see school groups from The Hastings Academy and Rye Studio School whose teachers reported how informative and helpful the Fair had been for their students.
I would like to thank this year’s sponsors: Hastings Direct, as well as Saga, Hastings Works, the Let’s Do Business Group, all those who took part including Sussex Coast College for hosting this event, the volunteers who gave up their time to help out on the day and to all the businesses and organisations who exhibited to give our young people from Hastings and Rye the chance of a better future.