By Jaclyn Coulter Human Resources Manager
It went way beyond what we thought possible.
Five minutes before the doors opened, literally hundreds of people were queued down the stairs and out around the side of the Templeton Hotel in Templepatrick.
It was abundantly clear that the airport’s first-ever Jobs Fair would attract numbers that would make our most optimistic expectation seem puny.
We had fourteen stands representing a broad spectrum of businesses at the airport. Large and small employers were there to let eager job-seekers know what was available, how they should go about applying and what was likely to come up in the future.
Brisk business was done. The ‘speed dating’ approach worked well with queues forming at particular stands, mainly businesses that have already announced significant recruitment plans.
Word was well and truly out there that our airport and the businesses on site were creating – not merely promising or promoting – 282 jobs.
Clearly, there was demand to know a lot more. For the full three hours of the Fair, staff from the companies present were inundated, and it’s to their credit that they worked non-stop to deal with questions and offer advice.
Some local politicians, too, lent their support, with the South Antrim MP, Danny Kinahan, the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Thomas Hogg, and a number of Councillors, turning up to add their voice to the venture. From politicians who couldn’t make it, we had positive words expressed on Twitter.
The Jobs Fair was a resounding success, and a big ‘well done’ to our companies, their staffs and, of course, our own volunteers who turned up to help on our stand.
I was genuinely taken aback by the weight of numbers present. They came from Antrim, Carrickfergus, Larne, Ballymena, north and west Belfast and Lisburn – all in search of employment or to check out the prospects of a job when they leave school.
We’re doing our bit for the economy, at no cost to the taxpayer or the local employment agencies. The airport is an engine for growth and as we expand, then further job opportunities are bound to be created.