400 apply for 45 jobs at new Falmouth Wilkinson store
10:51am Wednesday 25th April 2012 in Business
Unemployment levels in the Falmouth and Penryn area were brought into focus this week when close to 400 people applied for just 45 jobs being created by the town’s new Wilkinson store.
The company saw an average of ten people applying for each job during three days of recruitment last week.
Between last Thursday and Saturday staff from existing Wilkinson stores in the county, together with the new Falmouth assistant manager Paul Featherstone, oversaw hundreds of people filling out application forms in a bid for a job at the store, which is due to open on June 21 this year.
The entrance area of the Dracaena Centre was filled with people, who had flocked to the interviews.
Mr Featherstone said the recruitment process had been “very successful,” adding: “We had a lot of high calibre people come through the doors.”
Mr Featherstone said that while the number of people applying was actually lower than the company had seen in some areas, the standard of applicant was “very high.”
Successful applicants from the open days will be contacted shortly to be invited to the assessment stage, with jobs then offered at the end of that.
“We’re very pleased with the response we got and the people that turned up, even in bad weather,” added Mr Featherstone.
While recruitment takes place, work on refurbishing the store’s new base, in Falmouth’s former Woolworths, is well underway.
Advertising hoarding has been put up around the store in Market Street, which is being transformed into the self-described ‘family value’ store that sells household goods, toiletries, kitchenware and DIY products.
Sue Bradshaw, employment advisor for Penryn and Falmouth, said in the region of 900 people in the area had signed up for benefits.
She welcomed Wilkinson’s involvement in the town and that the company was creating jobs for all age groups.
Mrs Bradshaw said: “I’m delighted that Wilkinson are coming to Falmouth and giving such fantastic openings to the youth of Penryn and Falmouth and also to our unemployment customers signing on.
“I look forward to working very closely with them [Wilkinson] in the future.”
She added that 80 of the interviews with Wilkinson had been carried out at the job centre in Penryn, with a large proportion of them in the 18 to 24-year-old category.
The creation of jobs was also welcomed by Falmouth and Truro MP Sarah Newton, who said: “I welcome any new stores coming into the town centre.”
However, she stressed that unemployment figures in Cornwall – and in particular in her constituency – were lower than in other parts of the country.
“Truro and Falmouth, in terms of unemployment, are relatively low. I know for anybody out of work and wanting to work it’s awful for them. But overall Cornwall, relative to the rest of the UK, unemployment is lower and in my constituency it’s the lowest levels in Cornwall. Doing the best I can do to help companies create jobs is the top priority in the recession.”