Gavin Barrie: The Christmas rush for jobs starts now

There will be more job opportunities at Edinburgh Airport as it continues to expand. Picture: Ian Georgeson

There will be more job opportunities at Edinburgh Airport as it continues to expand. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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While Christmas may still be a couple of months away, many employers across the city are gearing up now for what is traditionally their busiest time of the year. This presents a good opportunity for those looking for work, but can also help open up other opportunities within these businesses beyond the Christmas period.

To help connect people to these job opportunities the council is working with public, private and third-sector partners to establish and develop employment hubs offering recruitment and training services and support.

There are currently three hubs in the city, based at the airport, Fort Kinnaird Shopping centre and within the South St Andrew Street Jobcentre, and there are plans to develop a further hub in the new Edinburgh St James development. I recently visited the Fort Kinnaird Recruitment and Skills Centre and was extremely impressed. British Land, the owners of Fort Kinnaird, are providing the building and helping to promote the centre to employers, and the other partners are providing the training and recruitment services.

Christmas recruitment was the foundation on which the centre was built but what really struck me is that it has resulted in people of all ages getting on the career ladder and going on to permanent jobs in retail.

Last year the Fort Kinnaird Centre advertised 612 seasonal vacancies for 44 employers and achieved a fantastic 43 per cent retention rate. Vacancies are on a par this year and I have high hopes the centre will do even better this Christmas.

Similarly the Airport Recruitment Centre advertises airport jobs through the Joined up for Jobs website and Department for Work and Pensions Universal Jobsmatch scheme and has been very successful in placing applicants into relevant job vacancies. Discussions are under way with partners on how to develop this valuable facility to cater for the future planned expansion of the airport.

As part of the £1bn Edinburgh St James Development a world-class Retail and Hospitality Academy is being created with a focus on service excellence. Council staff will be working with other partners to make this an exemplary employability hub for the retail, leisure and hospitality opportunities that will be created as part of this important development.

These centres offer excellent opportunities for those interested in short-term employment over the festive period or for those wanting to develop a future career in the retail or service industries.

Councillor Gavin Barrie is economy convener at Edinburgh City Council