Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose previews jobs fair

John Penrose looks ahead to Weston Jobs Fair.

John Penrose looks ahead to Weston Jobs Fair. - Credit: Archant

Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose believes ‘even one person looking for a job is too many’ as he looks ahead to Weston Jobs Fair which takes place later this month.

The event – which features more than 40 employers – is on September 21 at Weston College Conference Centre, in Lower Church Road, from 10.30am to 2.30pm, with anyone looking for a job or a change of career encouraged to attend.

Mr Penrose spoke to the Mercury ahead of the careers showcase to answerquestions about the fair, which is in its third year.

Q: What inspired you to create this event?

A: I was talking to local business people, and they said they couldn’t always find the right staff to fill vacancies. That struck me as barmy, and it got me thinking of ways to help solve the problem.

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Q: What are the aims of the jobs fair?

A: We want to match up as many local jobseekers and employers as possible. Simple as that.

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Q: Have you and your team done anything to improve and develop the event?

A: Yes. Each year we ask exhibitors and sponsors how we can make it better next time. This year’s new ideas are a full-on social media campaign, which has been really effective at spreading the word with jobseekers and has attracted lots of new companies to take part in the event too. We’re also introducing a networking area for companies who couldn’t book a stand at the event, so they can still come along and talk to jobseekers about the opportunities that they have available.

Q: Will you be attending the jobs fair? If so, what will you be doing at the event?

A: Yes I’ll be there. I’m going to be speaking to as many local firms and jobseekers as I can, to see how they feel about the event, what we need to change to make it even better next time, and how they see our local economy doing at the moment.

Q: Are you pleased with the list of employers who will be attending?

A: Very. Each year we’ve had more companies and organisations looking to take part, from a wider range of sectors and walks of life. It means there should be something here for everyone who’s looking for a job in Weston or the nearby villages.

Q: Who would you encourage to go along? Is this suitable for those hoping to change their job as well as those who are out of work?

A: It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for that all-important first job, or have one already but are looking for a new challenge, or want to get back into work after a few years off. We aim to help everybody, and you only need one employer to say yes, after all.

Q: What advice would you give to job-hunters attending the fair?

A: It is a good idea to bring along several copies of your CV with you to the event and to have some ideas of the questions you would like to ask potential employers. Don’t be afraid to approach anyone as many companies will be looking to fill a variety of different roles. It could be that you could have the exact skills that they are looking for.

Q: Can employers still get involved with the event and showcase their available roles to job-hunters?

A: This year is so popular that we’ve run out of space for new stalls, but there’s still space in the networking area for any employers who want to come along.

Q: Do you think unemployment is a problem in Weston? What can be done to solve it?

A: Weston and the area around has been creating new jobs pretty quickly – faster than many other parts of the country – so our unemployment rate is pretty low already. But even one person looking for a job is too many, particularly if there’s a local employer who wants to employ them but doesn’t know they’re there. That’s what the Jobs Fair is supposed to fix.

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