WATCH: Crowds are absolutely thronging the first Laois Jobs Fair

Lynda Kiernan


Lynda Kiernan

The first ever Laois Jobs Fair is taking place in Midlands Park Hotel in Portlaoise all day today and the numbers have been overwhelming.

Bernie Everard is the CEO of Laois Chamber of Commerce who organised the event this Wednesday February 12.

"We had to open the door early with the queues. We got over 2,500 registered to come and the companies here today are offering between 300 and 400 jobs. We anticipate it to get even busier this evening, we are here until 8pm,"  she said.

"The feedback from employers is really good. Heritage Hotel are offering people jobs on the spot. Supermac's have gathered about 40 CVs. They are delighted with the quality of candidates," Ms Everard said.

As for the public, she said they are happy too.

"They have said that this fair is better than jobs fairs in Dublin because here they are meeting senior managers and decision makers. One young girl with a degree in International Studies has three interviews lined up next week," she said. 

"We just wanted to get commuters and employers in the one room in one day. In a way our job is done, but we hope to report back in a few months on jobs that are filled," she said.

Fiona Kelly from Ballybrittas was attending the fair. An accountant, she commutes to Sandyford in Dublin daily.

"It takes an hour to an hour and a half each way. It's time to get off the M7. People just want a better work life balance and I think the recent vote reflects that. They are fed up working all the time and getting nothing," she said.

She was impressed with the choice at the fair.

"It's good to see the companies. You don't get to know a lot of them unless you see jobs advertised, it's great to see people face to face. The likes of Glanbia Cheese is a big attraction, other companies like First Ireland Spirits and Greenfield Global I didn't know existed," Ms Kelly said.

Greenfield Global is new to Laois, with a factory under construction in the IDA Park in Portlaoise and due to open in May.

John O'Sullivan is the Quality Manager.

"We are recruiting for about 17 positions, it could be more. It is busy today but really good. There are some great candidates and a constant stream of people. Everyone we have spoken to is pretty much local. Commuting to Dublin is a big driver, people want to come home," he said.