UK 2013: 4,000 queue in the hope of getting a job at a new shopping centre

UK 2013: 4,000 queue in the hope of getting a job at a new shopping centre
Queues formed two hours before the jobs fair opened its doorsJob seekers had to park a mile away because so many people were therePositions were sought at new 84million shopping centre with 56 shops

By
Lucy Osborne

PUBLISHED:

13:06 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:39 GMT, 29 March 2013

Some wore smart suits, others were dressed down in jeans. But all braved the bitter cold for one reason – they are desperate for a job.

No fewer than 4,000 applicants turned up yesterday hoping to secure one of 1,000 positions at a new shopping centre. They began queuing two hours before the doors opened at a recruitment fair in Whiteley, Hampshire.

This sobering reminder of the country’s faltering economic recovery came as it emerged Britain has just dodged a triple-dip recession.

A one-in-one-out policy was operated as queues mounted for a jobs fair at the Solent Hotel, in Hampshire

A one-in-one-out policy was operated as queues mounted for a jobs fair at the Solent Hotel, in Hampshire

A desperate 4,000 job seekers flocked to a hotel in the hope of finding work at a new 84million shopping centre

A desperate 4,000 job seekers flocked to a hotel in the hope of finding work at a new 84million shopping centre

The Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development said the UK economy grew at an annual rate
of 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2013. An announcement before
this month’s Budget revealed the jobless total in the UK had risen by
7,000 to 2.52million.

The South East has the second lowest
unemployment rate in the UK at 6.6 per cent, compared to the national
average of 7.8 per cent.

But yesterday’s scene highlighted how
no area is immune to job losses. In October a Ford van factory in
nearby Southampton shut with the loss of more than 500 jobs.

Carol Bramley, who has been out of work since January, was the first in the queue at 8am.

The queues stretched on outside the jobs fair where crowds gathered two hours before it opened

The queues stretched on outside the jobs fair where crowds gathered two hours before it opened

She said: ‘Everything you read and
hear these days says that there are hundreds of applicants for every job
going. So I thought that with the fair opening at 10am, I’d best get
here early so that if I had to queue, it would be at the start of the
day.’

Ethan Edwards, 19, from Southsea, has
been out of work for six months. He said: ‘There are a lot of
opportunities here. It’s a good opportunity to talk to employers face
to face.’ The Whiteley Shopping Centre, just off the M27 between
Southampton and Portsmouth. will have 56 stores including Clintons, JD
Sports and Starbucks.

The biggest employer will be the
restaurant chain Harvester, which is looking to employ 45 staff. Centre
manager Neil Carter was delighted with the turnout.

Whiteley Shopping Centre in Hampshire will open on May 23and more than 1,000 jobs will be created (artist's impression)

Whiteley Shopping Centre in Hampshire will open on May 23and more than 1,000 jobs will be created (artist's impression)

Marks & Spencers, River Island and Timberland will be among the 56 new shops to open in Whiteley, Hampshire (artist's impression)

Marks & Spencers, River Island and Timberland will be among the 56 new shops to open in Whiteley, Hampshire (artist's impression)

Whiteley Shopping Centre Manager Neil Carter was delighted with the turn-out at the jobs fair

Whiteley Shopping Centre Manager Neil Carter was delighted with the turn-out at the jobs fair

He said: ‘It’s been brilliant, we
have had a great response from the people of Whiteley and to the
recruitment fair. We have had more than 2,000 people pre-register and we
think we will have seen around 4,000 people by the end of the day.’

Across the country there are 5.1 people chasing every job vacancy.

This high demand was highlighted last month in Nottingham when 1,700 applied for just eight jobs at a branch of Costa Coffee.

The chain was swamped by the equivalent of 212 for each post.

Unsuccessful applicants included senior retail managers with more than 15 years of experience.
Costa’s Sham Ramparia said: ‘It just shows how hard times are.’

Job vacancies are set to increase by
22 per cent over the next few years, although firms will continue to
struggle to find suitably-skilled staff, according to a report.
Vacancies will rise up to 2017, reflecting a positive outlook for
employment, website totaljobs.com suggested.

But its report warned of a continuing skills gap in computing, manufacturing and research.

Graph showing the rate of unemployment in the UK over the last five yearsg the rate of unemployment among young people over the last five years.

This graph shows the rate of unemployment in the UK over the last five years