October 22 2014 Latest news:
By Lauren Rogers
Saturday, March 29, 2014
A Great Yarmouth business was “overwhelmed” when more than 350 people applied for one job in just 48 hours.
In the first hour alone, True Traders received 100 applications for its warehouse and customer service role. While the phenomenal response is an indication of how tough the climate is for job hunters, the family run firm says it also shows Yarmouth is home to a number of growing industries and not only the energy and offshore sector.
The warehouse position was advertised on the JobCentre’s Universal Jobmatch website.
“I thought we could have it up for a week and maybe get 10 or 12 people apply,” said Michael Benzance, 62.
“Within an hour we had 100 applications. I then went away for a day on business and when I came back we’d had 337, plus another 20 or so who had heard about the job through other means.
“It was overwhelming. We want to respond to each one but at five minutes each that would take 29 hours.”
Michael is now employing two people and may take on a third during busy periods. He believes the huge response show local demand for jobs that aren’t linked to the offshore industry.
“I don’t want to knock the energy industry at all; the offshore and other technical industries are rightly encouraged and supported but there are businesses like ours who can also employ Great Yarmouth people,” he said.
“There are quite a few local firms that would describe themselves as internet retailers and they are quietly growing.”
True Traders, based in Caister Road, sells outdoor and seasonal products online and through its Yarmouth showroom.
It was founded by Michael, who previously worked worldwide as a senior purchaser for a chemical company, six years ago and moved to the Hethel Engineering Centre in Norwich after winning the 2008 Launch Pad award sponsored by Norfolk County Council.
It upped sticks to larger premises on Yarmouth’s Harfreys Industrial Estate in 2010 and to Caister Road in September last year. It is now owned by Michael, who lives in Brundall, and his sons, Tom and Max.
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, who recently hosted 500 people at a jobs fair at the Town Hall, agreed there were a variety of jobs out there.
“We all talk about the energy industry and the growth there is phenomenal, as is the industry’s focus on apprenticeships and skills, but there are other opportunities out there, be it in hospitality, engineering, or services” he said.
“We have a high rate of unemployment, higher than any of us would like, and while I’m proud that we are reducing unemployment there’s more work to be done.
“There are something like 10,000 jobs available within a 10 mile radius of Yarmouth and we need to figure out how to connect people to those jobs.”
Brandon added there was a lot going for jobs that helped the long-term out of work to take a step on the employment ladder.
“It might not be your chosen profession, but getting a job will give a lot of people the experience, skills and confidence to then go on and look for another job,” he said.
“My first job was stacking shelves and driving a forklift in a warehouse. I worked my way up to become a buyer and went to university from there. It’s about getting your foot on the first rung.”