Crowds flock to Reading Jobs FairBy Mike Pyle
September 16, 2011
More than a thousand people tried to get on the job at a fair arranged by one of the local MPs.
Reading Job Fair, organised by Reading East MP Rob Wilson and Reading UK CIC, drew in crowds to pentahotel in Oxford Road yesterday and gave job hunters the chance to explore the opportunities open to them and even hand their CVs in to companies recruiting in the area.
Among those was Tesco, which is bringing 1,000 jobs to a site near Madejski Stadium, and food distributor Brakes, which is opening a warehouse in Suttons Business Park in East Reading and creating 500 jobs.
Both organisations also held workshops at the event to tell people about the available jobs and how they can get them.
Sophie Akokhia, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said: “We’ve got 1,000 positions available which will add £34,000,000 to the local economy in wages alone – not to mention several million in the construction process.
“We had a full house for our presentation and hundreds of people coming through – the interest has been overwhelming and we’ve got a box full of applications and CVs.”
Brakes’ operations and implementations manager Martin Ward said: “It’s been very good. We’re pleasantly surprised by the number of people we’ve spoken to here.
“We’re recruiting for the warehouse, admin roles and drivers. There’s six of us here from different sectors of the organisation and we’ve all been kept busy.”
Other organisations at the fair included the Army, McDonald’s, Thames Valley Police, John Lewis and the Broad Street Mall, which was promoting the 200 vacancies it has at the moment.
Mall manager Steve Fawke said: “It’s amazing – I can’t get over how many people there are here and how well it’s organised – although that’s not so much of a surprise given who’s organised it.
“It shows just how many people are out there looking for work or at least looking for a change.”
Job seeker David Willis, 46, from Woodley, said: “It’s great that something like this has been organised. Like so many people, I got made redundant last year. It’s been 15 years since I was last job hunting and a lot has changed.
“In my day you went around to employers, gave them your CV and asked them what jobs they’ve got. Now it’s all done on the internet and it can be quite difficult to know you’re doing the right thing because often you don’t even hear anything.
“This is like it was in the old days – straightforward.”
Mr Wilson wasn’t available at the time of going to press but Michelle Southby from his office said: “It’s going really well. We had 800 people through the doors in the first hour.
“There’s access to a lot of employers and the exhibitors are picking up a large number of CVs.
“The first presentations from Tesco and Brakes were so full some people had to be turned away to the afternoon sessions.”
Most people at the event enjoyed the opportunity to find out about job opportunities although one man did have to be escorted out for ‘unruly’ behaviour.