Get Hired Expo at Plymouth Guildhall this Friday
PLYMOUTH'S unemployment situation is set to remain "challenging" for the remainder of 2013, but there are a significant number of unfilled jobs in the city – which is why The Herald is staging its Get Hired Expo.
We decided to take our Get Hired campaign off the page and into the Guildhall with an all-day event to help job-seekers find work.
The free-to-enter Expo, from 10am to 7pm, this Friday, March 15, will feature an array of employers and organisations giving advice and work opportunities to Plymouth's job-hunters.
With the city's jobless total rising for the first time in a year to 6,136 people, there is no better time to help them find work.
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The January figures, the most recent available, showed an additional 349 people claiming benefit.
Yet there are about 1,000 job vacancies in Plymouth – each month.
Which is why The Herald is so keen to put job-seekers and employers and trainers together under one roof.
It's a step forward for the Get Hired campaign, launched last June with a mission to highlight job and training opportunities in the city.
During the past nine months The Herald has featured dozens of businesses and organisations striving to help the unemployed.
And we have told the stories of job-seekers, and their quests to find employment.
Several of those we have followed have found work or training, and their stories are included inside this special supplement.
Ian Wood, editor of The Herald, said: "We launched the Get Hired campaign last summer and it was successful, helping a number of people to get back into employment.
"So on the back of this we decided to organise this free event to give everyone in Plymouth the opportunity to access expertise.
"It will feature employers with job vacancies. There's a need to match people with jobs."
And that need is intensified by one top economist's view that the job situation will remain difficult.
"Against a background of continued weak national and global economic performance, conditions in the local labour market in the coming year are set to remain challenging," said Dr Steven Brand, associate professor of economics at Plymouth University.
"We expect to see headline unemployment figures in Plymouth remain static, relative to a moderate fall in national rates.
"While we do not expect to see local unemployment rates increase significantly, recent data seems to indicate there have been qualitative changes in employment at a local level.
"In the last couple of years, labour market data for Plymouth suggest a strong growth in self-employment relative to the nation, weak absolute growth in employment, and a shift away from full-time to part-time positions.
"These patterns may indicate that underemployment is becoming an increasing problem in the city economy."
But there are unfilled jobs and a spokesman for Working Links, which has its Plymouth base in Mayflower Street, said: "Recent analysis of the jobs market shows there are about 1,000 vacancies across Plymouth – and more than 4,500 across Devon – each month.
"This, coupled with the 'hidden' jobs that we're helping to find our customers, means there are jobs out there.
"But it's important to fill those vacancies with suitable candidates," he added.
"We're working closely with employers to ensure vacancies are being filled with the right people.
"More often than not, employers are looking for people who possess 'soft' employability skills like a good attitude, enthusiasm and good time-keeping, rather than those who have reams of qualifications."