UNEMPLOYMENT in Gainsborough is still the highest in Lincolnshire, according to the latest official figures.
But Jobcentre staff and the local authority say the picture is far from bleak, insisting that Gainsborough is on the up.
The per centage of unemployed people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) benefit in the town in October was 6.3 per cent – which is more than Lincoln (5.3 per cent) and Skegness (4.3 per cent).
The figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 1,223 people out of work and claiming the benefit last month.
Gainsborough topped the chart in January this year with a seven per cent claimant rate in the town, higher than anywhere else in Lincolnshire.
The number of unemployed people claiming JSA in the county currently stands at 14,117 (3.3 per cent), while the national rate is 3.8 per cent.
But despite the gloomy-sounding statistics, there are signs in Gainsborough that things are improving.
“Here at Gainsborough Jobcentre we feel really positive at the moment with the way the local job market is going,” said Tracy Ward, Jobcentre business manager.
“In the last few months we have seen the arrival of some big employers in the town, such as McDonald’s, Browns department store and Marston’s Lincolnshire Otter pub, which have all created jobs.”
“We are also looking forward to the opening of the new Spar shop on Corringham Road and KFC are hoping to build a new restaurant too. Then there are big plans to create a leisure quarter where the old Guildhall is which, when it comes, will bring yet more job opportunities for local people.”
Tracy said the Jobcentre had been able to work closely with the new employers to help find suitable candidates for their vacancies.
“We managed the recruitment drive for McDonald’s when they came to Gainsborough, and we have worked very closely with the new Spar shop,” said Tracy. “We carried their vacancies on our database and sifted the suitable candidates using their own criteria. All the company had to do was interview them. While Spar was recruiting we also ran a pre-employment course through Gainsborough College that prepared candidates for work in retail. and safety.”
Gainsborough Jobcentre currently has 94 vacancies listed on its database.
“It might not sound a lot considering the number of unemployed people there are looking for work, but it’s a number that fluctuates hour by hour,” said Tracy.
“Vacancies are filled and others appear all the time.”
“And these are just the available positions in Gainsborough and surrounding villages. There are many more out there in the wider area towards Scunthorpe, Lincoln and Retford. And we expect people to look further afield for work.”
“We always say to our clients that looking for a job is a full time job in itself. You can spend all day searching vacancies online, in the newspapers, amending your CV to suit each one and filling out application forms.”