HUNDREDS of apprenticeships have been offered to job-seekers at Stafford Works’ annual jobs fair.
Although numbers through the doors were down on last year, organisers said “more serious”, suit-clad candidates, armed with CVs were present.
Companies including Francesco Group and JCB were offering apprenticeships, in line with a recent Government push for work- based training.
The event comes as new figures show unemployment in the Stafford constituency fell by 59 in a month to 1,539 a drop of 74 compared to the same time last year.
Stafford Works project co-ordinator James Nixon said: “We haven’t seen huge footfall but we’re seeing more people suited and booted with CVs at the ready.
“I think companies, particularly in engineering, have shown a real will- ingness to take on apprentices.
“What Stafford really needs is an improvement in the retail sector and I think the Riverside development will help a great deal in that regard.”
Terry Ridgway, 29, from Stafford, was amongst those looking for work at the event.
He said: “I’m in work at the minute but am only working an eight-hour contract so am actively seeking more employment.
“I’ve found it very difficult in the last few years in Stafford but I’ve had a good look around today and have found it very informative and everyone’s been really helpful.
“I’m looking mainly for warehouse work but, to be honest, am open to anything that will help me pay the bills.”
John Edwards, 22, also from Stafford, said: “Apprenticeships really interest me at the minute and I would be proud to represent any of the companies with stands here.
“My background so far has been in retail but now I’m really keen to learn a trade that will develop into a real career.
“I moved here from Liverpool a few years ago and was lucky enough to find a job with Comet within a few weeks but, since then, I’ve found it difficult to get employment in Stafford.”
Lynne Maguire, provisions manager at Francesco Group, said: “We’re promoting apprenticeships and full-time training courses.
More than 300 extra apprentices in Stafford (01/12/2011)
Let's get Stafford working says MP (16/09/2010)