HUNDREDS of job seekers met potential employers at an employment fair in Hartlepool.
More than a dozen employers, including big high street names with vacancies and other agencies, packed into the Grand Hotel, in Swainson Street.
And in the first hour more than 300 job hunters filled in application forms.
A range of employers were at the event including Matalan, Argos, BHS, and npower along with local businesses like Streamline Taxis.
JobCentre Plus was represented to give guidance on job and training opportunities as were Hartlepool Enterprise Centre, Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency and the council’s adult education team.
Latest jobs figures showed Hartlepool has the eighth highest rate in the country of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The number of jobless benefits claimants in the town increased to 4,143 in July, compared to 4,076 in June.
Among those looking to get back into work at the fair was 21-year-old Anthony Watson, who lost his job as a carer after illness.
He said: “It has been very hard trying to get back into work. I would say the town is getting worse for jobs.
“But things like this are good. They should do more of them.”
He was joined by Graham Lyth, from Dyke House, Hartlepool, who was looking for factory or retail work. Mr Lyth, 50, said: “I’ve been looking for work for quite a while. I’ve been on the dole but I would rather work for my money.”
Businesses with stands at the fair had a busy day.
Karen Tester, manager of Argos, at Anchor Retail Park, Hartlepool, was looking to fill temporary Christmas jobs.
She said: “We can’t believe the number of people we have seen. It’s fantastic.”
The fair was organised by Hartlepool Council’s Hartlepool Working Solutions Team.
Team member Caron Auckland said: “We know there’s a lot of people out there looking for work and we are trying to respond to the needs of businesses and local people.
“The event gives people the chance to speak directly to an employer rather than just send off a CV. It is a really good opportunity.”
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