The Beacon Jobs Fair - March 2017

The Spring Jobs Fair arose from meeting with Richard Cummings, Manager of The Beacon Community Centre.

The Beacon is a new community centre taken over from the local authority who formally ran it as a youth club. The focus of The Beacon is now to provide a wider range of community activity for the Beacon Heath area of Exeter which is an LSOA – Q1 Most Deprived.

Richard expressed a desire to position The Beacon as a local centre for opportunity, learning and enterprise as well as addressing the more traditional focuses of a community centre – hence he was very open to connections that a Business Connector might bring to the centre.

Given Beacon Heath’s high unemployment rate I suggested that a Jobs Fair could bring this focus to The Beacon – demonstrating the commitment of the centre to providing local opportunity and also making connections for the centre with local employers and the public sector via Exeter Jobcentre Plus. I agreed to take this up with the local jobcentre Employer Managers.

I met with Exeter Jobcentre Employer Managers and local recruitment agency Recruit Princesshay and asked how they felt about a Jobs Fair that would move away from the more traditional city centre modelling and into a more community focused setting. I found all parties most receptive to this – indeed they stated that deeper community outreach was always a target and that venues were becoming harder to source set against their own budgetary constraints.

We held a further meeting as three partners working together and set a date for the fair. Jobcentre would source employers, I would source learning and volunteering providers and The Beacon would handle local promotion for Beacon Heath via leaflet drops and the like. We also agreed on the use of social media, local press and radio promotions.

We worked together on a press release for local media and I was able to obtain some free promotional airtime on Radio Exe and via their website.

The fair was held 14th March and was well attended by local employment seeking residents of Beacon Heath. Seven employers (including Sainsbury’s and Premier Inn) and four learning and volunteering providers exhibited at the event. The employer / provider feedback for the event was excellent with all parties taking applications from viable employment candidates. The venue was also deemed to be superb from all concerned.

Equally important was that The Beacon are now in discussions with three providers – YMCA Job Club, Learn Direct and Workers Educational Association – with a view to them running job club and training classes at the centre on a regular basis.

The Beacon Jobs Fair highlights the best of three sector partnering and demonstrates openness to new ways of delivering opportunity in community settings. Everybody involved at every level gave of their time and services without charge and this is now a model that Exeter Jobcentre and myself will consider replicating across the city in other areas of need.

 

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