Job hunters turn out in their hundreds
Up to 500 job hunters swarmed into Kidderminster Town Hall in the hope of snapping up one of more than 400 work or apprenticeship opportunities.
Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier organised the job fair and among visitors hungry for work were a father and son who had travelled more than 16 miles from Wolverhampton.
Npower topped the list for the number of job vacancies, recruiting for 50 posts across the Midlands, ranging from office workers to engineers.
So Chandan Mal and his father, Harjinder, who has just been made redundant from a Tividale company, stopped to check out what was on offer.
Harjinder Mal, aged 51, of Glengarry Gardens, Finchfield, Wolverhampton, has applied for several jobs in the last two weeks since being axed as a driver and warehouse assistant at Dave's Discounts in Tividale.
"I did metre fitting some years ago so I'm interested in finding out if Npower has anything suitable for me," he said.
His son, aged 31, of the same address, recently qualified as a heating engineer from a Dudley College course run at Great Barr.
"I'm working for an insurance company at the moment but I'm keen to get into the heating and plumbing business," he said.
"My dad and I have been going to job fairs in the area to see what's around."
Hewett Recruitment manned a popular stand, taking a mounting pile of names of people interested in 35 to 40 temporary and permanent jobs in the Kidderminster and Worcester areas in a range of sectors.
West Midland Safari Park at Bewdley had opportunities for 30 to 40 people and Marks & Spencer was there to tell job hunters how they could apply for around 25 Christmas posts that will soon be advertised on its website for the newly-expanded store in Kidderminster.
Forty applicants expressed interest in joining a new apprenticeship programme - open to 32 people aged 17 to 25 - run jointly by Severn Valley Railway and Vital Skills Training to train people to work on the rail network.
The new £6.1 million Academy at Kidderminster, run jointly by Kidderminster College and Birmingham Metropolitan College, had 250 apprenticeships on offer.
Nicola Scurlock, aged 41, of Stourbridge, is among 500 students who have enrolled so far for the vocational courses offered at the academy and will be doing a course in computer applications development.
Single mum Nicola said: "I'm a graphic designer and used to run a TV production company in Birmingham but it closed in 2003 and, since the birth of my daughter Millicent, I haven't worked but she's now five and going to school.
"So I'm looking to transfer my skills and hope to become a consultant."
Rob Hodgson, aged 22, of Walter Nash Road, Kidderminster, was visiting the fair to have a "peep" at what was available, although he already has a seasonal job at the Safari Park as a games operator.
Mark Reilly, aged 17, of Cleobury Mortimer, who is on a health and social care course at Kidderminster College, was touring the stands looking for future opportunities in social work or a career working with disabled people.
MP Mark Garnier was unable to attend the event, despite organising it, because his 84-year-old mother was ill and going for an operation in Cornwall.
But he said: "This is the second jobs fair I've organised this year - at the last one Tesco was able to fill all the vacancies it had at its new store in Stourbridge Road.
"I want to show that there are plenty of jobs out there for people."
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