Job seekers and employers are a perfect match at The Herald's Get Hired expo
HUNDREDS of job hunters took the chance to meet with employers, trainers and business experts during The Herald's Get Hired Expo yesterday.
People of all ages flocked to the Guildhall to seek out advice and opportunities about apprenticeship schemes, job vacancies and college courses.
The free event, which ran from 10am to 7pm, was set up in conjunction with City College Plymouth.
Nina Sarlaka, the college's executive director, gave an opening speech in which she said there are encouraging signs despite figures showing high youth unemployment.
She said: "Apprenticeships are a real valid opportunity for our young people.
"More than a million young people are unemployed and we need young people to know that they have options, that they don't have to go down that route. I am passionate about that. It's great to see our local businesses and employers come together to show what Plymouth can offer in a free environment."
Stalls were set up around the hall offering information and helpful tips.
Tom Hewer, marketing executive for Cornwall College, said employers are looking for people with practical skills along with qualifications.
He said: "There seems to be a bit of a buzz around apprenticeships.
"People need to have the training, it's very competitive at the moment, employers can afford to pick the best and strongest candidates.
"They don't want students with a qualification and nothing else, they want them to be work-ready and offer what employers are looking for.
"We get people out and about doing hands-on stuff that will prepare them for that."
Jack Richards, of training provider GHQ, said: "What we are looking for today is to create awareness for apprenticeships and to speak to as many people as possible, whether they are parents or potential apprentices.
"Events like this are hugely important because as training providers our doors are always open, but employers are not always the most accessible, you can't just walk in and ask them about a job.
"That's why events like this are massive."
It was not just young people looking for an opportunity – several older job seekers also benefited from the event.
Steve Matthews, driving instructor with Plymouth City Bus, said: "We have got a few vacancies that we are looking to fill, primarily for drivers.
"We are giving people the chance to sell themselves to us. You can teach anyone to drive but if they have got people skills that's good.
"We get to see them first hand, it's hard to judge somebody on an application form, so this gives us a chance to give them a mini interview."
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."