Jobseekers at the Supermac's stand at the Offaly Job Fair on Saturday last
HUNDREDS of job seekers from all over the Midlands and further afield flocked to the first ever Offaly Job Fair held in the Tullamore Court hotel on Saturday afternoon.
The Tullamore and District Chamber of Commerce organised job fair is now set to become an annual event such was its success.
Companies were delighted with the huge numbers of enthusiastic jobseekers who attended the event with the fair being thronged from its official opening on Saturday morning.
Spokespersons for FRS Recruitment and Nua Healthcare told organisers that the fair was by far the most successful they had ever attended.
It was a great idea to hold the fair on a Saturday as it was more convenient for job seekers who are already in employment, said the FRS representative.
A spokesman for Nua Healthcare said he attended a job fair in Dublin last week and the Tullamore event far surpassed it.
Lidl Ireland held interviews with job seekers and by lunchtime had already conducted 25 and hired four people.
We're hungry for staff and it seems people here are hungry for jobs, said Lidl employment brand specialist Denise Baltatu.
Firms from sectors such as construction, retail, finance, hospitality, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and engineering all took part in the job fair.
Officially opening the fair, Cllr Neil Feighery, Cathaoirleach of Tullamore Municipal District, said "Offaly is known for its wide, open landscapes with the theme of the council, 'Space to Grow, Space to Work and Space to Live'. With so many job opportunities available here today, we encourage people to return to Offaly where there is 'Space to Grow ' and avoid the grind of the daily commute to Dublin and the major urban centres.
Cllr Feighery was deputising for the Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, Cllr Frank Moran who was unavoidably absent.
Speaking on the behalf of the President of Tullamore and District Chamber of Commerce, Anthony Hanniffy who also could not attend the event, the group's PRO Ger Scully welcomed job seekers and employers to the fair.
He added: "The job fair is aimed at a wide range of job-seekers from the school leaver hoping to find an apprenticeship or further their education, to the commuter looking to work closer to home and enjoy a better work/life balance, to those looking to further their careers and to those financially stretched wanting to live outside the major cities where the cost of living is more affordable."
The PRO said Offaly and Tullamore were great places to work and live in.
He stressed the Chamber has worked to support its members through some very difficult times in the recent past.
“As we come out of the Covid landscape we consulted with local businesses on the type of supports that would benefit the local business community the most. We expected recent events to have negatively impacted businesses but were pleasantly surprised at the strength and resilience of our community, with most businesses looking to push forward and grow despite these challenging times. One issue that raised its head again and again during our conversations was the difficulty in getting staff, and it is from these seeds that the Offaly Job Fair have grown.”
The Chamber PRO said the event wouldn't have been possible without the support of Offaly Local Development, Offaly Local Enterprise Office, LOETB, Offaly County Council and the Technical University of the Shannon.
“I would like to thank them for the tremendous time and effort they have put in to help us to make this event a reality,” added Mr Scully
He extended a special welcome to Ukrainian job seekers who have fled to safety in Ireland and Offaly following the Russian invasion.
“We all feel a great sorrow for recent events and sympathise with what you have gone through and what some of your families are still going through. We welcome you with open arms into our communities and will endeavour to assist you as best we can,” stressed the speaker.
The Chamber PRO said he was very upbeat about the future of business in Offaly.
“We have a strong generation coming through into adulthood, our businesses are remaining strong and growing, our community spirit is high and these all make the county a wonderful place to live and work,” he pointed out.
Among the local politicians who attended the event were Junior Minister Pippa Hacket, Deputy Carol Nolan, Cllr Declan Harvey, Cllr John Clendennen, Cllr Mark Hackett and Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick.
Also in attendance was the CEO of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney.
The event also saw the launch of a new directory of services in Offaly which has been published by Tullamore and District Rotary Club.
The directory was compiled by a sub-committee chaired by Albert Fitzgerald and will be updated annually.
Among the firms who took part in the inaugural Offaly Job Fair were
Tullamore Credit Union
Tullamore Court Hotel
Bord na Mona
Glass Innovations, Ferbane
All Pro Recruitment
National Learning Network
The Ability Programme
All About Trees
More details on the Offaly Job Fair can be found at www.tullamorechamberofcommerce.com or on the Offaly Job Fair Facebook page.
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