‘It’s just to get your foot back in the door’: Hundreds seek work at airport under fire amid cost of living crisis

From the shock of a sudden layoff in a cost of living crisis to the excitement of a first step up the career ladder. Hundreds of people answered the call from Manchester Airport at a job fair in Wythenshawe today (May 24) – each with their own reasons for looking for a new job.

The beleaguered airport is currently trying to extricate itself from the chaos seen in recent months. Huge queues and delays are blamed on the lack of staff at the airport and the companies operating there.

At the Wythenshawe Forum, just a mile away from even more scenes of ‘carnage’ unfolding this morning, the airport continued its efforts to recruit additional staff ahead of the summer. Shortly after the doors opened at 10 a.m., more than 400 people had already entered the building in search of new jobs.

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Among the crowd were four friends who were recently fired together. “We went to work and everyone did their morning rounds,” said Phil Platt, 32, of Sharston. “When we came back, there were directors there and we were told the company was insolvent.”

Phil and his former colleagues – hoping to find work similar to their former driver – held up leaflets and forms collected from Forum stands. In addition to the airport operator, many companies were hoping to take on new faces – from retailers like WH Smith and Greggs, to hotels and on-site security, and companies responsible for checking in and handling passengers. luggage.



Phil Platt, Anthony Newby and Pavan Shrestha
Phil Platt, Anthony Newby and Pavan Shrestha

“We have to be positive,” said Anthony Newby, 41, of Sale, also dismissed. “You can’t take it down, but people are different. People were in shock, crying their hearts out.”

A shock administration during a cost-of-living crisis was the worst news for many employees. “Financially it couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Pavan Shrestha said.

The 48-year-old, from Stretford, had recently set up a pizzeria with ‘a few people’, supported by income from his previous job.

For Tony Nolan, 61, from Sale, the dismissal led him to collect a pension.



Tony Nolan, 61, who was also recently made redundant
Tony Nolan, 61, who was also recently made redundant

“I’m fine,” he said. “But some guys and girls are saying it will be three weeks before they get fired, but I was told it would be around six weeks, so some are going to struggle.”

Across all companies recruiting new workers, there are approximately 1,300 vacancies. Hundreds of people had pre-registered to visit the job fair, and the event saw a peak of around 500 people walking through the door.

Many had struggled to find work during the coronavirus pandemic. Arron Smith, from Wythenshawe, worked for Menzies before Covid hit and had been at work ever since.



Aaron Smith struggled to find work during the pandemic
Aaron Smith struggled to find work during the pandemic

The 36-year-old said: “I was made redundant because of the pandemic, but I’ll see what they say now. It’s been difficult, but my girlfriend and my family have helped me. If it was just me, I would have felt drained, but the other year a lot of people got laid off. It’s just to get your foot in the door again.

Julie Sherlock, from Wythenshawe, had also been made redundant from a company based at the airport. The 55-year-old lost her job in 2020 – although it was “not necessarily because of the pandemic”.



People queue to enter the Wythenshawe job fair
People queue to enter the Wythenshawe job fair

She said: “I called it retirement, but my husband said ‘you’re too young for that’.” Julie told the Manchester Evening News that getting to work from her nearby home wasn’t always easy with parking issues – and she left the house at 12:30 a.m. to get to work for a 1:30 a.m. shift.

She had cared for her stepfather until his recent death, and now she hoped to get back to work. Julie added: “I’m only looking for a few days now – it’s just a little pin money really.”

As well as people hoping to get back to work, there were dozens of young people looking to start their careers at Manchester Airport. Local schools and colleges were invited to attend the job fair, while others came on their own, full of hope.



Companies were eager to recruit
Companies were eager to recruit

Jack Hesketh worked part-time at Domino’s, but wanted to find what he described as his “first real job”. The 19-year-old, from Warrington, said: “There aren’t really a lot of jobs, but the airport is a good place to work with lots of opportunities.

“That’s why I came here to see the safety, the track stuff, all that stuff. I don’t know what I want to do.”

For Mackingson Paul, today was an opportunity to climb the ladder of his career. The 29-year-old moved to the UK from the Turks and Caicos Islands six years ago and now lives in Wythenshawe.



Paul Mackingson
Paul Mackingson

“I did security at a school but wanted to upgrade my badge to level two,” he added. Passenger numbers at Manchester Airport have returned to 80% of pre-pandemic levels and are expected to rise in the coming months.

With huge staff losses at the start of the pandemic, companies are scrambling to hire workers to keep up with demand. They include Interstate Hotels and Resorts, which manages the new Holiday Inn and Ibis Budget hotels under construction at Manchester Airport, which are due to open later this year.

Jamie Farrell, human resources manager at Interstate Hotels and Resorts, said: “It’s really important that we support the local community. These job fairs are held to help organizations get out and meet people who are looking for jobs. opportunities not only to return to work during a recent layoff, but also for career changes. We just want to show that we can support that.”



Wythenshawe Forum was busy for the job fair
Wythenshawe Forum was busy for the job fair

Ian Costigan, acting chief executive of Manchester Airport, believes the outlook for this summer is “much more positive” after two difficult years of the pandemic – but says more people need to be recruited to meet demand. “We are making good progress in our recruiting campaign,” he said.

“More than 1,600 people applied for jobs here in April alone and around 200 newcomers are expected to join the operation this month, which will allow us to open additional security pathways during peak periods and to improve customer service We still need to grow our team further, so if you are enthusiastic, customer oriented and looking for the opportunity to do something different, we would love to hear from you.

Manchester Airport will be represented at another career fair this week at the Albert Halls in Bolton, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. Jobs at Manchester Airports Group can be found online at careers.magairports.com

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