JOBSEEKERS turned up in force at a fair offering about 600 positions and more than 1,000 apprenticeships.
The first Journey Back To Work event brought more than 1,000 people to Cascades Shopping Centre yesterday, in the hope of finding employment and taking up offers of support when applying for jobs.
It was jointly run by The News, Jobcentre Plus, Portsmouth City Council, Cascades Shopping Centre, A4E and Maximus/CDG, and aimed to help people of all ages get into work.
Recruiting companies and organisations at the event ranged from Morrisons and Primark, to the Army Careers Service and Peta.
Kelly Boyd, of Wingfield Street, Buckland, has been in part-time work for six years.
But now that her four-year-old son Leon has started school she is looking for a full-time position.
The 32-year-old picked up four application forms at the event as well as information on how to attend a workshop on interview skills.
She said: ‘It’s been helpful. I didn’t realise there were so many jobs out there that I could apply for.
‘The army has really taken my interest. My brother is in the army and having seen the opportunities he’s got from that it appeals to me.’
Warrant Officer Frank Eastman was offering advice to those interested in a career in the forces.
He said: ‘We’ve had a great reaction. I’ve sent a lot of people to the career service office and spoke to quite a few who are keen to join. This has been busy.’
Jobcentre Plus staff were offering advice and The National Apprenticeship Service talked to jobseekers about the benefits of an apprenticeship.
Linda Taylor, the council’s employment initiatives administrator, said: ‘It’s great to see that so many companies and organisations have jobs to offer.
‘It shows people there is still a lot of opportunity available to them in the area.
‘And it’s given them access to vital information that they often miss out on when applying for jobs by themselves.’
After the success of yesterday’s event, organisers hope to host a second similar jobs fair in around six months’ time.