A Croydon Council recruitment drive has led to over 50 local people landing jobs at the major new Boxpark food and drink venue opening on Monday.
Thousands of people are expected to attend this weekend’s music festival to launch London’s second Boxpark venue that has 34 restaurants, cafés and bars in former shipping containers next to East Croydon station.
From staff at franchise restaurants to 14 direct Boxpark employees, by Wednesday this week 41 people got their jobs at the pop-up mall as a direct result of a recruitment fair run by Croydon Works. By Friday (28), that number had risen to 52.
Set up as a partnership between Croydon Council, Croydon College and Job Centre Plus offering a free recruitment and advice service to local employers and jobseekers, Croydon Works’s fair at Braithwaite Hall in September saw 98 people interviewed for kitchen, table-waiting and customer service roles at eateries based at the new Boxpark.
The recruitment fair was modelled on the layout of a speed dating session, with employers sat at rows of tables and applicants able to move between interviews in quick succession. Before the event, Croydon Works also ran advance training sessions for applicants wanting extra industry-recognised certificates in customer service and food preparation.
Croydon Works provides:
• A single point of contact for employers with live vacancies
• Pre-screened, local candidates ready for work
• A single point of contact for residents actively looking for employment
• Tailored job support to help you get ready for work
Faisal Hussin, general manager of family-run Yumn Brasserie in South End, recruited an apprentice at the Braithwaite Hall event for the second Yumn branch at Boxpark Croydon. Mr Hussin said: “We always look to employ local people in Croydon, and without initiatives like this it does make it more challenging as in the last four weeks we have had a lot less interest in jobs coming from the European sector.”
“Croydon Works is all about helping local residents into jobs, especially young people and the long-term unemployed, so this project is really encouraging.
“I’m particularly pleased that a major destination like Boxpark Croydon is employing local residents as a result of Croydon Works, and I look forward to more recruitment events in future.”
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for economy and jobs
Croydon Works case study 1
Melanie Eburne, aged 20 and from Woodside (pictured), received three job offers on the spot during the Braithwaite Hall recruitment event, and will combine waitressing at Donde tapas bar in Boxpark Croydon with studying for an NVQ in travel and tourism.
She said: “It was handy to take your CV and apply to whichever employers you wanted to work for. I have nothing but amazing things to say about the recruitment fair. I’m so excited; I liked Boxpark in Shoreditch and I’ll really enjoy working in Croydon.”
Croydon Works case study 2
Naomi Mbelu, aged 22 from South Norwood, will work on front of house at Wine & Deli while she does a masters degree in campaigning and social change.
She said: “I thought it was one of the best recruitment procedures I have been to. I just loved the fact that there were interviewers so you could select the employers to work with. I was excited to have a Boxpark in Croydon, but to be one of the first people to work there is an amazing feeling.”
Croydon Works case study 3
Andre Golding, aged 26 and from South Norwood, has become security manager working direct for Boxpark. He has worked in security at music events in the 02 Arena in Greenwich, and is looking forward to being in charge of around 60 people at the opening Boxpark festival on 29-30 October.
He said: “It only really dawned on me when I had my first meeting with all the members of staff; in my previous managerial roles they’ve never given me direct access to the directors, so I thought ‘Wow, it’s a different ball game’. With Croydon and the area being in a boom, it’s a very exciting project to be a part of.”