Ballymena jobs fair set for next February

JTI (Gallaher).
JTI (Gallaher).

The Braid will host a jobs fair to highlight employment, training and further education opportunities for local jobseekers in February.

The council is hoping to attract a minimum of 30 exhibitors to the event, which will include a youth zone focused on the under 25s.

A council report cited statisticts from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, which showed that there are 1063 benefits claimants in Ballymena, of whom 255 are under the age of 25, representing 24.5 per cent.

Overall, there are 2,317 claimants in Mid and East Antrim, of whom 595 claimants are under 25, representing 25.8 per cent of the total. This is higher than the Northern Ireland average of 25.3 per cent.

“High youth unemployment is an issue which has been raised consistently in the local media in recent years,” the report states.

“In addition, recently announced redundancies and pending local factory closures in Michelin and JTI add weight to the need for a Ballymena Job Fair.”

A jobs fair in Larne in February 2016 attracted over 800 attendees and 35 exhibitors with over 300 job vacancies available on the day.

Proposing that council endorse the jobs fair and provide a maximum budget of £2,500, TUV Cllr Timothy Gaston said it was “needed in Ballymena after the couple of years we have had” and described the youth unemployment figures as “stark.”

Seconding the motion, Mayor Audrey Wales asked if the borough could have one job fair instead of two. A council officer said they could investigate this. The motion was uanimously agreed.