2,500 attend Laois Jobs Fair aimed at cutting out the commute

Over 2,500 people attended a jobs fair aimed at helping people cut out their commute, organised by Laois Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday last.

Both established organisations in expansion mode and new businesses showcased a whole range of roles they are keen to fill within Laois, generating a new positivity in a county from which approximately 12,000 people commute to work.

Among the stands creating a real buzz was Glanbia’s new €130 million mozzarella cheese production plant which is due to open in Portlaoise at the end of August or beginning of September. It is a joint venture between Leprino Foods and Glanbia Cheese.

“We have 24 people hired already and we are going to hire another 100 people in the next 18 months,” said Naoise Coogan, corporate communications manager.

Recruitment is taking place for general operatives as well as in the skilled areas of finance, quality and engineering, Naoise said.

There will be some excellent job opportunities for skilled workers sick of the commute to Dublin. A lot of people are saying that they are tired of spending up to five hours a day commuting. They want their lives back.

One of those who has done precisely that is Jordan Harrison, who is revelling in his new role of IT support officer at the plant. From Rosenallis, he had been commuting to Dun Laoghaire where he worked as an IT administrator with RPS Engineering.

“I got the job at Glanbia Cheese in Portlaoise at the start of November and am delighted with it. It gives my fiancee and I more time to organise our wedding in four months’ time. It is great not to have to get up at 5:00am and get home at 8:30pm anymore. I have joined a gym and I am really enjoying the change,” said Jordan.

“When I graduated from Athlone Institute of Technology in 2016, I found it hard to find IT jobs and worked in Penneys, Portlaoise. Then I stuck the commute to Dublin for two years,” he said.

Abbeyleix-based First Ireland Spirits, which was established in 1993, producing Irish cream liqueurs for some of the world’s largest retailers and drinks companies, was also busy fielding queries. Part of the Quintessential brands group, it offers seasonal roles in summer, said Lauren Kearney, HR business partner.

Satellite office

Nostra, an outsourced IT provider based in Lucan, has just opened a satellite office at the Webmill in Mountmellick, and is in search of talent for a variety of roles, according to Adam Talbot.

“Kevin O’Loughlin, CEO, and Barry O’Loughlin, COO, are from Rosenallis and they wanted to offer a local alternative to commuters, with the same career path,” said Adam.

We are winning so much business that we are looking to fill positions in all areas of the business. We have had a lot of good conversations with people who are fed up of commuting several hours a day.

Also new to Laois is Greenfield Global which has its headquarters in Toronto. Its manufacturing facility in Portlaoise will serve its European life sciences customers.

Under the Pharmco brand, it offers a range of speciality alcohols and bio-based chemicals. It has been serving life science; food; flavour; fragrance; personal care; extraction; and industrial companies for over 30 years.

Greenfield Global is recruiting for numerous roles including several in quality along with: office manager; warehouse supervisor; maintenance technician; production and warehouse operators; office admin; IT service desk support; and customer care/logistics.

Dawn Meats is seeking to fill a number of roles in Rathdowney including production graduate; site maintenance manager; skilled knifeperson/deboner/butcher and general operatives.

‘The interest has been crazy’

“We are getting a very good response,” said Enda Feighery, HR co-ordinator. “Interest is coming from commuters and people around the Portlaoise area,” he said.

Mountrath-based CJ Sheeran, said to be the country’s largest manufacturer and recycler of timber packaging and pallets, was looking to recruit a sales co-ordinator and receptionist as well as production operatives.

JS Dooley Contracting, trading as JSD Contracting which operates as a general building contractor with its head office in Portlaoise, was seeking an experienced contract manager as well as a purchasing officer.

Seamus Delaney of Internal Results which works in lead generation with IT companies, based in Portlaoise, has a number of open roles in the areas of languages, telemarketing and HR. “The interest has been crazy,” said Seamus, whose family recently moved from beef to dairy farming.

Kyra Fingleton of ‘Glamping under the Stars’, a boutique ‘glamsite’ on a tillage farm, was seeking cleaning staff from the beginning of April to the end of October.

Niall O’Connor from Athlone Institute of Technology’s lifelong learning department said that the college and Laois and Offaly ETB (LOETB) have met with the Bord na Móna workers who are losing their jobs. Workshops were held and information provided on flexible springboard course offerings, he said.