More than 2,000 job seekers and career changers poured into the Abbey Hotel in Donegal town recently to attend the South Donegal Jobs and Career Fair 2016, featuring 40 mainly local employers and 20 education and training programmes.
The fair, co-sponsored by Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC) and the Department of Social Protection (DSP), offered the chance to apply for full- and part-time employment and explore new career directions.
Local employers present had jobs on offer, including health, medical, retail, IT, tourism, hospitality, food, Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána, home help, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical positions.
“We made a point of sourcing local employers who actually had jobs available so the fair would be as helpful as it possibly could to participants,” Louise Brogan, DLDC employment and enterprise co-ordinator, said. “We mixed the employers’ stands in with those of education and training providers that could assist people entering a new career or upskilling themselves in a current one. There was something there for everybody. One of the many successes of the day was letting people see that it’s worthwhile to put themselves out there again.”
The function room where the fair was held overflowed with people visiting exhibition stands and scrutinising a “job wall” that listed hundreds of additional employment opportunities across Ireland, the EU, and beyond. There was also assistance with career guidance and CV writing.
Evaluation forms collected during the fair indicated that participants found it very helpful. “Much more interesting and more work opportunities than expected; very friendly and helpful staff,” one wrote. “I have gone home feeling refreshed in my task to find employment,” another wrote. “Hope this event comes back again soon, it helped me so much,” wrote another.
DSP’s co-sponsorship reflected the department’s expansion in recent years. “In addition to providing weekly payments to jobseekers, the department, through its local Intreo centres, offers a range of education, training, and personal development programmes to help jobseekers get back to work,” said Anne Curran, DSP case officer for Donegal town.
Intreo Employment Services provide career guidance and resources with access to job vacancies, online CV profiling for employers from Ireland and throughout Europe, and a CV-to-job matching facility at Jobs Ireland. DLDC programmes include services for people who are unemployed, small business/enterprise start-up support, rural transport, community development, training and education, and youth development.
The fair was endorsed by former GAA Manager Jim McGuinness, who said, “One of the secrets of achieving your goals is to recognize that it is going to be challenging. The truth is that if you believe you can, you probably can — you just need a plan and to be prepared for some hard work along the way. The Jobs and Career Fair 2016 is a great opportunity to start your plan.”