Since its inception in 2012, Jobs Expo has grown to become Ireland’s foremost jobs and recruitment fair, taking place twice yearly in Dublin, Cork and now Belfast. As you might imagine, putting the events together is a full-time job – in fact, several full-time jobs. We spoke to Bronagh Cotter of BCS Sales Recruitment, who heads the dynamic team behind Jobs Expo and Virtual Expos.
How did Jobs Expo come about?
I have worked in recruitment for many, many years and after the recession hit, employees were increasingly under pressure to accept whatever work they could find, for whatever salary they could get. It’s understandable why that happened – companies were terrified of going under and everyone was trying to cut costs. But it is not sustainable in the long-term. When you have a good fit between employer and employee, everybody wins. There was a gap in the Irish market because, unlike other jobs fairs, Jobs Expo, is not just about helping people just to find jobs – it’s about helping them plan careers and get the most out of their professional lives.
What distinguishes Jobs Expo from other jobs fairs?
The big difference is our commitment to jobseekers. There’s expert career advice at the Career Clinic, with a range of personal and professional development coaches. A lot of people get stuck in a professional rut and they need smart, independent advice to help them move on. Then there are others who have issues with confidence or interview skills that are holding them back. That’s where the Career Clinic is of real service, and best of all, it’s absolutely free. Then there’s our very popular Seminar Zone offering talks from industry professionals. At Jobs Expo in Cork this June some of the topics covered will include job opportunities, building confidence for interviews, CV writing and getting a visa to the US. The seminars are also absolutely free to anyone attending Jobs Expo.
What do you hope to achieve with Jobs Expo?
Honestly, our aim is to help companies and candidate find the best fit for both of them. One of the best things about working in recruitment is finding the right roles for the right people. There are many, many companies in Dublin, Cork, Belfast and across all of Ireland looking for staff, and there are thousands of people looking for work, or to change careers. Bringing them together is our job. Without overstating it, we are doing our bit to help the economy. When companies have the right staff, and employees have the right job, the economy grows.
We have a number of companies that exhibit at Jobs Expo year after year, because it’s a smart, economical and easy way of filling their recruitment needs. It’s fantastic to see exhibitors growing and needing more and more staff. Knowing that we have played a small part in their success story is very satisfying.
How long does it take to put Jobs Expo together?
Months! We are always working on it. Cork is coming up on the 23rd June, and so we’ve been finalising the event. But the team is also working on Jobs Expo Belfast which takes place on 17th September. In addition, we are running two Virtual Expos in the coming months – one for the Computer and IT sector on 28th July, and another for the Nursing, Medical and Life Sciences sectors on 31st August. Luckily, we have a great team at BCS Sales Recruitment to keep on top of everything. The office is always buzzing with activity, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!