The start of 2014 has brought fresh impetus and hope into the job market according to a recruitment firm .
Wakefield-based First Choice Recruitment has faced three challenging years, with businesses being reluctant to hire people during the recession.
But the company says there have been more job opportunities on offer since the start of the year than in any other time during its 21 years of operating, after recording its busiest January to date.
Andy Turner, co-owner and commercial director of First Choice, said: “We’ve filled four times as many jobs.
“The mentality throughout the region is ‘let’s make a difference and get staff on board’.”
He said that as the economy recovers, they are also seeing growth across all business sectors that they work with.
Mr Turner added: “That’s great news for the people of Wakefield and the region as a whole.
“September last year saw a positive shift in employment opportunities. During the past three years, we have placed a number of people into temporary work, whilst permanent work was still hard to come by. This seems to be swinging back into balance now.”
It is a double triumph, too, for the company founded by Mr Turner and Anne Lockwood, who are celebrating 21 years in business this month.
The company has filled thousands of job vacancies, temporary and permanent, with most of them being grassroot job vacancies as well as the odd board position.
One of their biggest clients is the Coca Cola plant on Wakefield 41 Industrial Park.
Mr Turner said: “Wakefield is an ideal location, we’re right in the middle of the UK, we’ve got loads to offer plus the availability of labour.”
The company covers a range of industry sectors including retail, customer service, manufacturing and distribution.
Mrs Lockwood said that the secret of their success lies in the region’s jobseekers.
She added: “It has really made a huge difference to them and their families.”
Roy Durham from Outwood, started working for First Choice in 1993, after walking into the office and asking for help to find a new career.
He said: “I’d just been made redundant from my previous job, I had a young family and I needed to talk to someone who could guide me in the right direction and see the potential in me. That’s what Anne and Andy and the team do: they see potential and give people opportunities.”
The company also work with people who would struggle to walk into a job.
Mr Turner said: “There’s an issue with a shortage of skills.
“This can be rectified by working your way up as long as you have the right attitude.”
Mr Turner added: “As a regional employer we have noticed clients’ demands are higher so we have had to work harder. But it appears there’s a lot of people available.”
Another way the company gets people into work is through schemes including the Express-backed Wakefield Works.
First Choice have sponsored the initiative, which is designed to offer young people the chance to meet employers with the opportunity of work experience and the chance to see first-hand the world of work and find out more about career routes.
Several of those candidates have now been offered fulltime employment.