All the job seekers who participated in a ‘reverse jobs fair’ organised by the Council were able to secure employment or interviews, thanks to this pioneering initiative – the first of its kind in Calderdale.

The event, held at Halifax Town Hall in August, brought together 12 individuals seeking employment with 15 local employers. Members of Calderdale Council’s Employment Hub coached the candidates, assisting them with crucial job skills such as interview preparation – a vital step of support before the fair.

The objective was to aid individuals over the age of 50 in finding employment opportunities and assisting them in entering the workforce.

At the ‘reverse jobs fair’, employers circulated around the room, engaging with each candidate individually. The candidates were selected by their job coaches from the Job Centre.

The event had a significant impact on the attendees, with nine securing jobs and the remaining three having promising opportunities on the horizon.

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 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 has 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 organise more reverse job fairs in the 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 assists businesses in recruiting and training staff.

For further information on what the Employment Hub provides, please visit