Recruitment success for post-pandemic jobs fair at Uxbridge College

A Jobs Fair at Uxbridge College’s Hayes campus attracted a fantastic turnout, with 335 through the door, around 30 signing up for the government’s Kickstart Jobs programme, and 20 registered for Apprenticeships.

Global, regional and local small business employers gave their support, with household names like Marriott and Menzies taking part, along with B2B security provider Hikvision, and growing SMEs such as Two Thirds Different, Reliable Property Sales, and Blessnab events.

Joana and Gwen from Marriott London Heathrow and other properties in the hotel group, said: “We’re so pleased to see business getting back to normal – there are loads of employment opportunities out there. It’s definitely good to get new people into jobs at the Marriott properties and it’s been a good turnout today.”

Olayinka Olasehinde, a Graduate in International Business, came along to the event in College Way, off Coldharbour Lane, to check out job opportunities and make links with employers, chatting with representatives including Hikvision’s Kenny Fu and Declan Stewart. Global corporation Hikvision, which researches and supplies high-tech security technologies, has UK offices in Stockley Park, Manchester and Glasgow.

Olayinka said: “I’m looking for a role in finance, project management or tech sales, and this has been a great opportunity to showcase myself, and get to know the different companies based locally and understand what they do. It’s been a really welcoming environment.”

Kenny from Hikvision said: “There is big demand in our industry, and we have been urgently recruiting Helpdesk staff. We were really pleased with the response at the Jobs Fair and are looking forward to shortlisting in the next few days with the CVs we collected.”

Merisa Crane, Kickstart Employment Advisor Lead Hillingdon & Hounslow, said: “I’m so proud Kickstart and Uxbridge and Hayes Jobcentres can work with Uxbridge College in this way – it’s really great to be breaking down the barriers to work together, such as language skills for instance.

“I’ve had some great feedback from work coaches, employers and our District Office about the Jobs Fair. The event was really a kind of relaunch of face-to-face events post-pandemic when so much has been done remotely – it’s the first time many people have been out job hunting in person.”

Kickstart is a Government scheme which funds wages for six months plus a £1,500 training and set-up grant. The event was overseen by HCUC Apprenticeships & Skills.

Chris Dillon (pictured centre) and Sam Howard (far left) from Two Thirds Different also came along to talk to visitors about opportunities within their social media marketing startup.

Chris said: “We think Kickstart is a brilliant scheme and it has without a doubt helped Two Thirds Different grow – we’ve gone from 4-26 staff since March this year, and are keeping on as many of the Kickstarters as we can. It’s been great to be here at Uxbridge College too, to check in with some of the amazing talent in the area, and also to look more closely about how we can work with the college going forward. We’ve definitely picked up quite a few CVs.”

Job hunter Charlotte Davies, who chatted with Chris and Sam said: “Everyone’s been very friendly today and it’s been a really good networking opportunity.”

Franklina K Ohene, from Blessnab events, based in Yiewsley, had filled five vacancies by mid-afternoon. Blessnab is an events planning and corporate hosting company, and also offers a hire service for chair covers, centrepieces etc.

Franklina said: “We’re really pleased to be part of the Kickstart campaign and to continue working with Jobcentre Plus, which we also did before the pandemic. With Kickstart it feels like we can give something back to society, by working with younger staff and training them.”

Aditi and Sureet Kapur, from Reliable Group Property Sales and Development, said: “It’s really been quite positive – we’ve definitely got some potential candidates. It’s good to see a mix too, from less experienced people up to graduate level, which is really helpful for looking at different roles.”

Giles Strachan, Employability and Projects Manager, HCUC Apprenticeships & Skills, said: “We’re so excited to have had such a successful event and are now looking forward to the next one – hopefully in February 2022. There was a great buzz, and it is such a good way to help job seekers in the area get to know the training opportunities offered in and around Uxbridge, Hayes and Harrow as well as to match them up with vacancies. We would also like to say a big thank you to all those employers we work with on an ongoing basis, for taking part in the event.” Giles is pictured second right, with Harpal Lehal, Head of HCUC Apprenticeships & Skills, on the far right.

Amongst those also taking part were Menzies Aviation, and Spear in Harrow, a charity offering practical and emotional support to young people trying to get back into work through a six week coaching course.