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‘Vacancies galore’ in Suffolk job centres

PUBLISHED: 05:30 14 November 2018

Archant

With Christmas around the corner, Suffolk has retail temp jobs a plenty - but which jobs in other sectors are getting increasingly tough to fill?

People wait for job interviewPeople wait for job interview

A number of big name companies are currently looking to employ staff for the Christmas season.

In Ipswich, UPS is looking for drivers for the Christmas gift delivery rush, and Debenhams is looking for temps for their Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds department stores.

Royal Mail is also recruiting for Christmas in Suffolk.

“Christmas temp jobs are always very popular - there is no concern that they won’t fill those,” said Stephen Lankester, the spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Care worker giving an old lady her dinner in her home.Care worker giving an old lady her dinner in her home.

“The most buoyant sector at this time of year is retail.”

At Colchester job centre, there are plenty of hospitality jobs going. Pound stretcher is recruiting, and at the new retail park at Tollgate, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Nando’s are both still on the lookout to fill positions.

Mr Lankester reveals that the hardest roles to fill in Suffolk’s job centres are in the care industry.

There are currently four to five companies in Ipswich recruiting care workers, including Consensus, which offers supported living services in Ipswich.

“Its a really rewarding industry once you’re in it, but its very difficult to recruit people into,” Mr Lankester said. “We are trying hard to encourage people to look at it as an option. People are living longer, so there is a greater need for it. “The benefits of care work are that it’s rewarding and builds up empathy, and we have to try to sell that better in the schools.

“We are working on that. We are not in dire straights yet, but its a problem.”

The national employment figures, which were released on Tuesday, reveal that the UK’s unemployment rate has also nearly halved since 2010, now at 4.1%.

The employment rate remains high, at 75.5%, with a record number of people in employment, with over 3.3 million more people in work since 2010.

That picture is reflected in Suffolk, and while Mr Lankester explained that the local statistics are difficult to quantify because of the introduction of Universal Credit, there is a broad variety of positions available - “not just in the retail and care industry.”

Although winter is coming, there is still a lot of construction work about in Suffolk.

Mr Lankester also says he has seen a “tremendous improvement” in the last three or four years in getting 18 to 24 year-olds into work in Suffolk. “The figures for 18-24 unemployment are very low, particularly thinks to organisations in Ipswich working with the job centre. There are also more and more apprenticeship positions becoming available.

“We had a meeting recently on this topic, as there are lots of unfilled apprenticeship positions.”

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