SCORES of job seekers flocked to a shopping centre hoping to find success.
The Journey Back to Work event, organised by Portsmouth City Council and Jobcentre Plus, was held at the Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth.
The fair gave an opportunity for employers to meet potential candidates and for job seekers to suss out what is available in the area.
Employers from a range of businesses, including Marks and Spencer, Boots and Costa plus more were on hand to offer advice, with many already recruiting for the Christmas period.
Employers stressed that candidates should not be deterred by the temporary nature of Christmas jobs.
Leone Hill, from JobCentre Plus in Portsmouth, said: ‘The job fair is the right time for all Christmas recruitment and quite often Christmas jobs lead to permanent ones.’
Single mum Lydia Morrell, from Hayling Island, was inspired by her work as a volunteer to attend the event.
The 33-year-old said: ‘I’m interested to see what’s available and I’m raring to go. I know I enjoy meeting customers, so I would love a job in retail. I’m happy to be here.’
Both companies and job seekers said they felt that the JobCentre was helpful in giving unemployed people the skills they need to be job-ready.
Ian McCreedy, team leader at Wacky Warehouse, was on the lookout for staff.
Wacky Warehouse, a soft-play area, has just had a £650,000 refit and has created new jobs.
He said: ‘I’ve found at least 10 people and I’m hopefully going to contact them all. People have been really enthusiastic’
There were, however, some concerns raised about the amount of unemployment in the area. Attendee Russell Collins, 50, from North End, said: ‘Portsmouth should be thriving, but it isn’t at the moment. There’s a real problem with unemployment in the city and I’ve been thinking about moving.’
David James Broadbent, 54, from Hayling Island, said he thought weak transport links were contributing to unemployment levels.
‘Hayling Island is very cut off and people need to travel to get to work in the city,’ he said. ‘There are no direct bus routes and the bus is expensive.’
A further job fair will be held at Gunwharf Quays on October 6, from 11am until 2pm.