Joined: 23 November 2004
Harry Potter star Chris Rankin was among hundreds of job hunters who packed the Forum in Norwich hoping to bag a career at Norwich's biggest retail development.
The actor, who played Percy Weasley in the first three Harry Potter films, could end up selling the J K Rowling books in the new Chapelfield development - but he reassured fans he was not giving up the stage for shops.
"I haven't been involved in making the fifth film and have not been working that much lately so wanted to get a job to stop me getting bored waiting for the phone calls to come. I'm still doing theatre work with my company Painted Horse and am not going to be swapping careers."
Representatives from 30 stores, cafes and restaurants - including House of Fraser, Borders and French Connection - travelled to the city in a bid to entice people in Norfolk to come and work for them.
A date for the opening of the Chapelfield mall still has not been released but it is believed to be around the third week of September.
The fair marks the first big push to recruit for those signed up to the development, although Jobcentre Plus has already been helping retail bosses behind the scenes.
Linda Fisher, Jobcentre Plus employer relations manager, said that it had received details from more than 1000 people interested in working at Chapelfield, but still needed more.
"We have been actively promoting retail as a career and highlighting the opportunities it offers," she said.
Yesterday's fair set out to actively encourage those interested in a retail career to find out more and apply for 2000 positions in 90 units.
Paul O'Donovan, spokesman for the Jobcentre, said the event had been "extremely successful".
"We've had nearly 2000 people through, it's been really good, the stands have been kept busy and constant all day and the great thing is that the retailers new to Norwich have really enjoyed getting a vibe for the city."
Helen Goddard, 30, a mother from Norwich, was at the fair with her son looking at various stands but was particularly interested in House of Fraser, which had queues all day.
She said: "There are a lot of concessions in the store and because it's so big there should be plenty of opportunities. I'm looking for part-time work really but this fair is really good, it just highlights what is available."
The store is looking to recruit for around 300 positions, 130 of which will be for concessions, which take on their own staff.
Morgan Lane, area manager for French Connection, said that he had seen a number of suitable candidates and was hopeful that the fair would lead to all the fashion chain's 14 vacancies being filled.
Craig Graham, development manager for Lend Lease, the company behind the Chapelfield project, said the fair was yet another example of how closely it had been working with retailers since the development first started.
Concerns have been expressed over the impact of recruitment for the new mall on existing retail staff numbers in the city although the Jobcentre has been working with the City Centre Management Partnership to reduce that.
Some of the job seekers that the EDP spoke to were already working in retail in the city while others were unemployed, returning to work or students looking for part-time income.
No figures were available breaking down what backgrounds applicants had come from.
Joined: 29 April 2005
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