John Talbot has set up a platform to help local people find work amid the sudden economic downturn
I’ve never worked in the recruitment industry, but I have applied for plenty of jobs over the years.
It’s a gruelling process for applicants and it’s an expensive, time-consuming activity for employers. Usually I work in the live music industry and have done for many years, but when the Covid-19 pandemic struck and lockdown kicked in, I found myself in a period of downtime as the virus and its accompanying restrictions paused the events and interactions we know and love. I watched many experienced, hard-working people around me become furloughed from their jobs or have their hours reduced. Even worse, I saw some people lose their livelihoods completely.
It seemed obvious to me that as our collective world shrank, even if only temporarily, there was a drastic need to help people find jobs and career opportunities on their doorstep, whether full-time, part-time or on a flexible basis. One of the rare silver linings of this experience is that we’ve all connected so much more deeply with our local communities. This, combined with the fact that people want to commute less in the Covid-19 world, meant it was only natural that those looking for work would be searching closer to home.
Equally, the borough is a hotbed of established and fledgling businesses, which would benefit from a direct channel that reaches the talented and dynamic job hunters of Walthamstow. While there are valuable outlets such as traditional recruitment agents, LinkedIn and Jobs Go Public, I was surprised there wasn’t a central localised noticeboard regularly announcing jobs open for applicants in Walthamstow.
Recruit Local was born at the start of July with the help of some local photography, a logo courtesy of local graphic designer Mark Harrison, and a first pile of vacancies. Since then we’ve shared countless jobs from all manner of industries, including charities, health services and the arts, to thousands of Walthamstow residents through our Facebook page. The initiative has also been given a seal of approval by MP Stella Creasy, who is fully behind the idea!
Running the initiative has given me a sense of purpose and a fantastic insight into the vibrancy of Walthamstow’s local businesses. I’ve discovered organisations doing wonderful work that I was completely unaware of before. We share our favourite job every Friday under our ‘gig of the week’ headline – these have included amazing roles going at businesses such as renewable energy company Ripple and humanitarian tech charity Jangala. It’s been a great eye opener and it’s satisfying to know that we’ve helped get some of E17’s residents back into work.