JOB seekers attend drop-in tourism and hospitality business fair to help kick start their next steps in the working world.

The drop-in event at The Forum in Barrow-in-Furness showcased a wide range of full-time and part-time job opportunities suitable for everyone from school/college leavers to aspiring hotel/restaurant managers and people looking to return to the workplace after a career break.

The Jobs Fair was arranged by Cumbria Tourism and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), alongside partners from Local IQ, Job Centre Plus and Inspira.

Rachel Tyson, Head of Partnerships and Projects at Cumbria Tourism said: “It was fantastic to see so many engaged job seekers attending today’s event -we welcomed over 170 from across Barrow and further afield.

“Today’s event is the latest in our ongoing campaign to support the industry through the current recruitment crisis by highlighting the long term career and training opportunities available within the visitor economy.

“Many businesses have already invited potential workers to interview and from the conversations I expect many to be taking the next step in their career very soon!

“We’re already looking ahead to organising another event but in the meantime anyone looking for a new role can learn more and apply at”.

The 21 business that were there were:

• Storrs Hall

• Swan Hotel

• Trybooking

• Haven Lakeland

• Inn Collection

• Hargreaves Enterprises Ltd

• Simon Rogan

• Hotel Imperial

• Linthwaite House Hotel

• Windermere Lake Cruises

• National Trust

• Orion Solutions Ltd

• Center Parcs

• English Lakes Hotels

• Lakeside Hotel

• High Spirits Group

• Furness College

• Safari Zoo

• Abbey House Hotel

• Building Better Opportunities

• Cumbria County Council - Barrow Adult Learning

Donna Conroy who works in event at Abbey House Hotel said they have struggled to fill a few roles with the competition in the industry quite high.

She said: “It’s been quite continuous since we re-opened and we have struggled in quite a few roles, there is quite a lot of competition in the industry and the hospitality industry has suffered since re-opening with the government, a lot of people who did work in the industry have got new jobs that are more 9-5 and it is a 24 hour operation, 7 days a week and we appreciate that peoples priorities may have changed over covid, but it’s still ongoing.

“We’ve been really lucky that we’ve managed to stay open, all our wedding couples have been super, since reopening we have obviously carried over so many weddings and events, we’ve had a really busy summer and it will continue to be.

“We are looking for kitchen staff and seasonal staff mainly for our wedding events so there is quite a good market here today for that.”

Beth Horan, general manager of Hotel Imperial and Hotel Majestic said: “It’s been very difficult, it’s been a very slow process, there hasn’t been many applicants which is down to covid and the furlough scheme where people aren’t actively looking for employment because they are on furlough so we found it difficult.

“We have been open the whole time during covid as a hotel for keyworkers- a lot of my staff have worked all the way through and they have been absolutely brilliant, they have taken on a lot of extra work that they wouldn’t have usually taken on.

“I’m hoping today will help to fill staff so we have a full complement of staff to run the hotel more productively.”

Orion Solutions, people relations manager, Lisa Nelson and Gemma Benson, quality and training coordinator said: “I think for the holiday lets it has been difficult we struggled a lot through covid. As a business we do other cleaning in schools and we struggled to recruit for that too.

“We hope today will obviously get out brand name out there to students and people looking for jobs and explaining who we are and what we do – getting on the scene and showcasing what’s available.”

A lot of Furness College students attended the fair ready to engage in their future career plans.

16 year old, Abbie Robinson said: “I use to work for Abbey House in hospitality which I really enjoyed and has made me want to pursue a career in that industry.

“I have seen lots of other opportunities here today that do look really good – I’m excited for the future.”