STUDENTS and employers have been given an insight into the booming jobs market thanks to the efforts of their local MP, endorsed by a senior cabinet minister.
Darlington College played host to a jobs and apprenticeships fair organised by the town’s MP Peter Gibson and attended by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations.
Employers joined charities, learning and apprenticeship providers, including the College, and Darlington Borough Council at the event which attracted the interest of a host of young people.
Mr Gibson said: “I came into politics to try and make a difference and in Darlington it has been incredible. I have been overwhelmed by the opportunities that have arisen since I took up the position in terms of jobs, apprenticeships and training. Darlington is the place to be, you can feel the buzz and I am enjoying my job so much.”
Mr Gove added: “It is fantastic to come to Darlington College and be among a large number of enthusiastic young people looking for a better future.
“This jobs fair is exactly what MPs should be doing, being the link between employers and young people. We have got to make sure we come back from COVID even stronger and this is a brilliant example of Peter making a real difference.”
In recent times Darlington has attracted hundreds of jobs thanks to the relocation of Capita, The Student Loans Company, Amazon, The Treasury, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Department of International Trade and the Office of National Statistics.
Darlington College’s employer engagement manager Claire Turner said there were currently more than 50 vacancies for apprentices in areas including catering, IT, business, child care, procurement and supply, project management, media and finance, from Level 2 to 5. The college currently had over 600 apprentices and a high pass rate.
“Employers are approaching us all the time with vacancies or for help with up-skilling their existing staff and we offer a full, free recruitment service,” she said. “We can assess candidate suitability for the apprenticeship as part of a pre-screen and employers get to interview the best candidates for their organisation. We are seeing the highest numbers for many years.”
For Level 3 business student Kenton Christie the jobs fair provided the perfect opportunity to meet one of his heroes.
“I am a bit of a fan of Mr Gove and did not expect to ever meet him at Darlington College,” said the 16-year-old, of West Tanfield, between Bedale and Ripon. “Politics is a hobby of mine, I’ve read quite a few articles about him and he was lovely – I am so happy.”