400 apply for three Norwich jobs

Sam WilliamsA business support agency has been inundated with more than 400 applications for just three trainee jobs - raising renewed concerns over youth unemployment.Sam Williams

A business support agency has been inundated with more than 400 applications for just three trainee jobs - raising renewed concerns over youth unemployment.

NWES, which provides a range of help to young and start-up companies, advertised for a trainee financial administrator, receptionist and administrator for its Norwich Enterprise Centre base on Guildhall Hill in the city centre.

And human resources manager Jane Rodger said she had received hundreds of CVs ahead of today's deadline, mainly from young people looking to take a first step onto the career ladder.

Ms Rodger said the number reflected the state of the employment market.

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Official figures published on Wednesday showed the number of people in the Norwich City Council area claiming unemployment benefits hit 4,652 in March, down slightly on the previous month but about 70pc higher than in March 2008.

Nationally young people have been among the worst affected by the downturn, with 929,000 16 to 24-year-olds unemployed and thousands more set to finish school and university courses over the coming months.

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Ms Rodger said: 'The number of applicants was not really a surprise in this current market and given the time of year, with many just finishing degrees and exams and looking towards their future career.'

She said with so many applicants and fairly 'open' criteria for the posts, those with well-presented CVs, good A level and GCSE grades and a demonstrated interest in the line of work were at an advantage.

Bill Heath, managing director of the Arlington Hotel Group, which runs a chain of hotels including the George Hotel off Newmarket Road in Norwich, said he had also seen a vast increase in applicants, with 50 or 60 going for roles that may not have attracted any interest two or three years ago.

Jane Lovell, joint founder and chairman of city recruitment agency Cooper Lomaz, said contract IT and project management roles typically attracted 'up to 200 applicants an hour', while marketing executives, human resources managers and finance analyst posts generally resulted in 30 to 40 applications.

But she said the number of new jobs had improved recently, adding: 'Over the last eight weeks we have seen a significant rise in the number of permanent vacancies we are handling.

'Last year, there was a rise in demand for highly skilled interim professionals as some people were reluctant to hire on a permanent basis and went for short-term contracts.

'We are seeing this trend slow down a little with a move to more permanent basis.'

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