More than 2,000 unemployed queue for 500 vacancies at Grimsby job fair
MORE than 2,000 hopeful job hunters went after 500 vacancies at a Grimsby job fair.
Queues of jobless people looking for work poured into Cue World in Victoria Street – with more than 500 people arriving within an hour of the doors opening, yesterday.
The event came as the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits in North East Lincolnshire remains higher than the national average, but declined for the second month running – from 7,002 in march to 6,797 last month.
It attracted some of the biggest employers in the borough – including Morrisons, Young's, Coldwater and Sealincs' Mariner Foods – who have pledged to put local people first when it comes to hiring.
Employer and partnership manager for JobCentre Plus, Lorraine Alexander, hoped the event showed locals there are opportunities out there.
She said: "We had more than 500 people arrive within the first hour of the fair. There was a constant flow of people all day, which has been fantastic to see.
"After this, 500 jobs will be offered to North East Lincolnshire residents.
"The fact the employers came says we want to recruit locally and we want local people to show us they are interested. It has shown people that there is work out there."
Some people had been made redundant – including some of the 337 Kerry Foods workers – while others had not found work since leaving education last year.
The number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) has fallen by 225 people since March although at 12.5 per cent this is still above the national average compared to 7.8 per cent.
Kerry Bateman, 31, of Grimsby, and Kerry Oswin, 37, were made redundant from Kerry Foods on May 4.
Ms Bateman, a mother, said: "It has been hard but coming here today has made me see there is a lot of opportunity out there. I am now looking to do my maths and English GCSEs and get my grades up so I can become a teaching assistant.
"Coming here has made me see there is training that I can do so I can get a better job. It has made me feel that there is something out there for me."
Ms Oswin, pictured, added: "Being made redundant is a huge worry. I worked at Kerry Foods for 19 years and it was all I had done since leaving school.
"Trying to decide on the right career is so difficult but today has definitely helped me."
For those who lost their jobs at Kerry Foods, Morrisons' new multi-million- pound seafood plant, which is due to take over the former Kwoks site on the town's Europarc, has offered them a lifeline.
The firm advertised 170 vacancies at the fair, which attracted the attention of 300 hopefuls.
Wendy Cummings, the site HR manager for Morrisons, said: "We have had a lot of interest which is brilliant and we have met some really keen and fabulous people. It has been excellent being here.
"Morrisons is hiring people on all levels – from operatives to managers – and hire on attitude to work rather than qualifications.
"It has been really difficult in Grimsby lately, especially when Kerry Foods closed.
"We want to give as many local people as we can the opportunity to join Morrisons and we are hopeful that will happen.
"Grimsby is a good town with good people."
The industry has been given another boost with Young's Seafood Ltd's creation of 321 jobs at their factories in Humberstone Road and Marsden Road, in Grimsby, which were advertised at the fair.
Chief operating officer Pete Ward said: "There is a level of interest in these jobs and the team handling filling the vacancies say their phones are ringing off the hook."