Council jobs fair changes lives

All the jobseekers who attended a Council-run ‘reverse jobs fair’ secured work or interviews thanks to this innovative opportunity – the first of its kind in Calderdale.

The event at Halifax Town Hall in August brought together 12 people looking for jobs with 15 local employers. Team members from Calderdale Council’s Employment Hub coached the candidates to help them with job skills such as preparing for interviews – an essential support step before the fair.

The aim was to support people over the age of 50 with employment opportunities and help them get into work.

The ‘reverse jobs fair’ saw employers moving around the room to talk to each candidate individually. Candidates were chosen by their job coaches from the Job Centre.

The event made a huge difference for attendees, with nine securing jobs and the other three having opportunities lined up.

Cllr Silvia Dacre, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, said:

“It’s wonderful to see the positive impact of our first jobs fair of its kind. We’ve been able to support the local economy and people’s wellbeing through this enterprising approach to helping people to find work and employers to fill posts.

“At the jobs fair and beyond, our Employment Hub’s great work to support people to find jobs, training or apprenticeships is a key part of our priority to reduce inequalities. Opening up opportunities for more people helps to make the most of the talent and skills that are central to the Vision 2024 for Calderdale, and enables people to reach their potential.”

Calderdale residents Mark Bell and Paddy Kenny secured jobs at Heywood Timber Engineering in Halifax thanks to the reverse jobs fair. Mark had been out of work since January 2023 and had applied for lots of jobs but hadn’t got any interviews. Patrick lost his job in April 2022 and had been looking for work ever since, but was unable to secure an interview.

Mark said:

“I felt like I was never going to get work again. I was nervous about the reverse jobs fair at first but pushed myself to go. I spoke to a variety of employers and through these conversations, saw how my skills might fit in with the roles they were recruiting for. Heywood Timber Engineering invited me for an interview and I’ve been in the role for a month now.  

“Getting a job has meant everything. I don’t have to worry about money any more and can now get on with my life. I’m really grateful to the Council’s Employment Hub and the Job Centre for supporting me through this.”

Paddy said:

“I wanted to work but was unable to get a chance. I felt really disheartened. The reverse jobs fair was great. Everyone was warm and friendly and I enjoyed spending time with other people who had been through the same as me. 

“The Employment Hub sessions built my confidence up and I spoke to several employers at the reverse jobs fair. I was particularly interested in Heywood Timber Engineering, got an interview and have now been working there for the past six weeks. Securing a permanent, full-time job has made everything much easier.”

The Council is hoping to run more reverse job fairs in future. Its Employment Hub team offers a wide range of support all year round, from helping with CV writing and interview preparation, to advice on changing jobs, self-employment and promotion opportunities. It also helps businesses to recruit and train staff.

For more information about what the Employment Hub can offer, visit  The year 2024 marks Calderdale’s 50th birthday. Where do we want to be by 2024? Get involved with the debate on X with #VisionCdale2024 and find out more at

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