By NATARIO McKENZIE
MORE than 800 persons attended last weekend's construction industry job fair, with the Director of Labour yesterday confirming that some were hired "on the spot".
While he did not have hiring numbers available up to press time, Robert Farquharson described the event as "extremely successful".
"We saw in excess of 822 persons at the job fair; 266 of them were new applicants," he said.
"We got a pretty good idea of how many skilled and unskilled persons there are in the construction sector, but we have not yet broken them down into job types. The fair in our view was extremely successful."
Mr Farquharson added: "We had a number of people who had first interviews, and some persons were hired on the spot. This was one in a series of initiatives we will be conducting. The next fair will be on February 17 in Grand Bahama, and we will have another one in the southwestern district of New Providence on February 24. Our goal is to register as many unregistered and unemployed persons in our skills bank." Twenty-two Bahamian construction firms participated in the job fair.
Leonard Sands, the Bahamian Contractors Association's (BCA) president, had previously urged job seekers in the construction industry to take advantage of a "first-ever" opportunity to register their skills directly with potential employers via the job fair.
He added that while thousands of Bahamians are employed in the construction sector, there is no skills database for contractors to access when seeking workers.
The fair is one of three major initiatives by the Labour Department to respond to the needs of job seekers and employers. The Department has already launched its 'Labour on the Blocks' job recruitment and registration drive.