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Work-life balance a theme of the inaugural Laois Jobs Fair

Express Reporter

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Laois Jobs Fair

If enquiries from employers and workers alike about the upcoming Laois Jobs Fair are anything to go by, it is set to be a huge success.

The inaugural event, to take place in the Midlands Park Hotel on Wednesday, February 12, will see companies like Glanbia, Trifol, Greenfield  Global, Enva, Fingleton White, CJ Sheeran and Supermac’s in attendance, together with staff  from Solas with information on apprenticeships

There will also be a separate area housing several co working hubs, which are becoming increasingly popular throughout Co. Laois as well as interview rooms for jobseekers and employers alike.      

CEO of Laois Chamber, Bernie Everard says, "The response so far has exceeded our expectations. We are delighted to showcase this inaugural event and we feel it could be the first of many. Laois is very well placed to take advantage of a burgeoning economy with more and more companies looking to set up in the county. It is literally in the centre of Ireland with excellent infrastructure and connectivity and I firmly believe it ideally positioned for huge growth over the next few years." 

"Laois has so much to offer from so many points of interest; geographically, socially and financially. There are 13,000 leaving Laois every day to work in other counties, and we want to harness those. We have a very young population who want flexibility in their working arrangements and with our great co working spaces we can offer them choice.

"Rents are cheaper, in some cases the rents for commercial properties are a staggering 50% less than Dublin prices, rates are cheaper, we can offer huge spaces for companies who need an excellent location coupled with state of the art amenities.  A variety of places to do business will have the knock on effect of encouraging families to move to Laois and that would be beneficial for the entire business community as people spend in the areas they live.” 

"The benefits of working and living locally are well chronicled. When workers face long commutes, they can’t be as productive, it takes a huge toll on them, their families and their overall quality of life. We want local jobs for people who live locally.  We are really excited about this event as we firmly believe it is going to offer huge choice for workers."

One such worker who knows all about the stress of commuting is Dubliner, Ciaran O’Neill. He relocated to Laois with his young family last year, a move he says changed all their lives for the better. “It was the best thing we ever did. When we lived in Dublin we faced a three to four hour daily commute to get to work and it was tiring, boring and  extremely stressful. We were literally going from work to bed ,and had very little downtime and family life. We felt like we were on a treadmill.

"Moving to Portlaoise slowed us to breathe again. I run my own web design company, Jamorano Design, and my wife Teresa works for Irish Steel and is literally a two minute drive away from work. Our little boy sees so much more of us and we now have time to enjoy life. I can say hand on heart that moving to live and work in Laois has improved our quality of life no end."

HR Expert and founder of Iridium HR, Sinead Grehan says there are huge opportunities in Laois for workers and those who wish to start up on their own. Having done just that herself in 2018, Sinead says that her company has grown hugely in a very short space of time and she now has an enviable client base from local businesses to those with a nationwide profile. 

"Setting up as an independent HR Consultant was something I had thought about for some time and I also felt strongly about there being a niche for providing HR support in the Portlaoise/Laois/Midlands area, in particular for the SME market; those businesses who employ staff but don’t have the need or resources to employ a HR professional but who still need to be compliant with employment law and best practice HR."

"I had worked in the private sector across a variety of industries for almost 20 years and, during that time, I was immersed in each business on a daily basis. Therefore, taking the decision to make the leap of faith into being my own boss, was a significant change. However, thankfully, I have transitioned quickly and have found it extremely rewarding; it suits my work ethic and personality and I am still doing the work I love - working with people, helping to resolve issues. I apply my HR knowledge and background  both practically and commercially and have a passion for delivering on time solutions for my clients and, ultimately, for making a difference.

"Being in business and being a business person means I now have the autonomy to drive the business forward, therefore, opportunities such as networking with the Laois Chamber, meeting new business-people and discussing with them how I can potentially add value to their business is a new and exciting opportunity for me. The upcoming Laois Jobs Fair is a wonderful opportunity for all of us in the  ounty”. 

Mountrath based packaging and pallet company, CJ Sheeran  is just one of the many companies who jumped at the chance of exhibiting at the Laois Jobs Fair. 

The firm, which employs 180 people across six plants, has grown steadily over its 25 years in operation and its ethos of developing staff progression is a key part of this. 

Director, Ashleigh Doyle says, “We are really excited about the Laois Jobs Fair; as well as having several vacancies  we need to fill across openings for Apprenticeships for Fitters and Wood Machinists ,Sales, Route Planning and Production Operatives, we are eager to highlight the scope that workers have in our company and the fact that it can provide a lifelong career for them, there are great opportunities to progress."

The benefits of working in Laois are not lost on Ashleigh who says she couldn’t contemplate commuting.

"The fact that I can live and work locally is vital for me; I have four young children and I just couldn’t imagine making a long commute each morning.  Wear and tear on me, on my children, my family life, my car; really no job would be worth that. Laois has everything I want and need and I just count my lucky stars that the job I love is in the county I love."

Enquiries about the Laois Jobs Fair can be made to  bernie@laoischamber.ie Phone 085 2566522