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Jobs fair organised for sacked P&O workers

Hundreds of job opportunities are being offered to sacked P&O workers.

Nearly 800 seafarers were made redundant last month by the ferry firm, which said its business was at risk of collapsing without the move.

P&O ships are still berthed in Dover
P&O ships are still berthed in Dover

Cheaper, agency staff have been brought in to replace the fired workers, but P&O ships still haven't moved from Dover port after two of them failed safety inspections - one of them twice.

A Recruitment and Support Fair will now be held, with organisers saying 'hundreds of jobs' will be on offer.

Organised by Dover District Council (DDC), and the Kent area team at the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), the fair will take place at St Mary’s Parish Centre in Dover from 10am to 4pm on Wednesday, April 27.

It is open to everyone looking for work but with a strong focus on former P&O Ferries crew.

As well as job openings, a whole host of opportunities in skills, training and education will also be available.

Protesters in Dover the day after P&O Ferries made hundreds of staff redundant
Protesters in Dover the day after P&O Ferries made hundreds of staff redundant

Employers from the port community will be represented, with DFDS, the Port of Dover, Home Office (Border Force), Dover Port Health Authority, and Viking Maritime Group all recruiting for vacancies suited to the skills of former P&O Ferries crew.

Agencies representing Eurotunnel will also be attendance.

Other employers recruiting at the event will be Megger, Kent Police, local authorities, including Kent, Dover, and Folkestone and Hythe, and agencies representing the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust.

For those looking to retrain or go back into education to pursue a new career altogether, Dover Technical College and the East Kent College Group will be showcasing a wide range of options.

Also at the fair will be welfare and advice services offering everything from help with CV writing, to money and benefits advice, and pastoral care.

Cllr Trevor Bartlett. Picture: Dover District Council
Cllr Trevor Bartlett. Picture: Dover District Council

Exhibitors in the support zone include CXK, Dover & Deal Citizens’ Advice, the Dover Town Team Ministry, including the Mission to Seafarers, and local authorities, Kent County Council, Dover District Council, and Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

The Health MOT Roadshow will also be set up in the nearby DDC Stembrook car park offering free mobile health checks.

Cllr Trevor Bartlett, leader of DDC, said: “The local community has pulled together in support of all those made redundant by P&O Ferries.

"The shock announcement plunged hundreds of people into uncertainty and the recruitment and support fair is one way in which we can help people get back on their feet."

Hamera Ahmad, Kent service leader at the DWP said: "We have a great range of opportunities on offer that are ideally suited to the skill sets that many former P&O Ferries crew possess.

"Our team will be on hand throughout the day, and our jobs wall will feature as many opportunities as we can fit on it!"

Gemma Griffin MBE, vice-president of crewing at DFDS, said: “We’ve already welcomed some former P&O Ferries crew onboard and we’re looking for more!

"It’s a case of once a seafarer, always a seafarer for some, and we’re looking forward to meeting all those looking to carry on their careers at sea with DFDS."

Emma Williams, head of human resources at the Port of Dover, said: "Dover’s port family is close knit and an integral part of the local community.

"Many of us know people who have been affected and have wanted to help.

"The Port has already been reaching out to ex P&O Ferries workers with job vacancies and training opportunities.

"The response so far has been really positive and a number of job offers have already been made, but we want to do more.

"That’s why we are so pleased to be part of this Recruitment and Support Fair as this gives us another way to showcase the variety of roles and a brighter future on offer to our former P&O colleagues."

Some former P&O workers have already found new jobs, including a chef who is now working at Goose on the Green in Deal.

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