Fermanagh Herald journalist Ryan Smith, interviewing Jim Masterson Manager of the Enniskillen Marks and Spencer store in Enniskillen at the Fermanagh Jobs Fair in the South West College gkfh1
AN ESTIMATED 600 people; a mixture of students, recent graduates, the medium to long-term unemployed and local businesses, attended the successful Fermanagh Jobs and Careers fair last week.
The event, organised by members of the Business Leadership Network in Enniskillen in association with the Fermanagh Herald and the South West College, was held at the college’s Enniskillen campus on Thursday.
A large number of local businesses – offering both employment, and advice on a variety of job-related processes, including CV completion and interviewing skills – signed up for the event.
Jim Masterson, chairman of the Enniskillen Business Leadership Network and store manager of Marks and Spencer Enniskillen, was pleased with how local businesses had rallied together for the event.
“We want to make sure people locally know what options there are available. And also that there is a career to be had in Fermanagh,” he explained.
“It’s becoming a more competitive market. People are really having to fight for every job. From a business community point of view, what we’re trying to do is use the resource of our collective businesses to help the local community.”
And, Sonia Treacy, staff development officer at the South West College, described a range of jobseekers in attendance on the day.
“We’ve had a good response, good interest. We’ve had a mix of people,” she said.
“It’s very important, especially considering the economic climate in Fermanagh, The fact that we’re getting out there – it’s a great opportunity for locals who are actively looking for work.”
Noting that it was important that people ‘understand’ that there are jobs here, Helen Sayers, HR manager at the Bite group said: “For us as a small business, we can start to understand the people that are looking for jobs.
“We’ve had lots of people of all age groups and backgrounds. It’s been an absolutely brilliant experience. There are a lot of employers here but there are also a lot of people attending and they’ve a wide range of background and experience.”
Carmel McGurn, who holds a degree in Business Studies and HR, and lives in Enniskillen, attended the event hoping to secure a long-term career, and spoke of the importance of meeting employers face-to-face.
“I’m here trying to broaden my horizons and trying to get a long-term career. I think it’s about time that something like this has been offered. It’s difficult to beat talking to someone face-to-face, and to find out what exactly is on offer.”
Echoing earlier sentiments of Enniskillen Business Leadership Network’s Jim Masterson, Carmel said that she would prefer to stay and work in Fermanagh or Tyrone.
“It’s been very positive. They’re are giving you their time. It’s very up-to-date.”
Julie Hetherington, HR manager for the Fermanagh Herald and the North West News Group, concluded: “I think the businesses appreciated it because they were getting direct access to local people who were unemployed.
“I think it was a good opportunity opportunity to meet local job seekers who we hope have left here today with a better understanding of the opportunities available in Fermanagh and what skills localcompanies seek when they are recruiting. The Fermanagh Herald are proud to have acted as media partners in this event for the local community.”