HUNDREDS of job seekers were given advice for the future thanks to a music mogul, an MP and a Northwich college.
Pete Waterman was guest of honour at the Weaver Vale jobs fair, held at Mid Cheshire College on Thursday and organised by Graham Evans MP.
Pete, a lifelong entrepreneur, started out on a very different career path to the pop industry he is known for.
He was a fireman on the railways and only dipped his toe in the music world, opening a record shop and DJing in his native Coventry, as a way to get hold of records.
“Music was my hobby and passion, I didn’t think I could make a living from it,” he said.
“I used my hobby to get music free and if I played at a party that bought next week’s records.
“It was training but you don’t realise.”
Training is the most important way to get ahead according to Pete, a deputy lieutenant of Cheshire.
“The advice I would give to new generations is training, training, training and education, education and education because that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
“You never stop being educated all your life and if you think you know it all I can assure you that you know nothing.”
He said this was all the more important as skills needed in the modern workplace were changing all the time.
“Modern employers want a different skillset to what they wanted in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” he said.
“Certainly now everyone has to be IT literate – I couldn’t get a job now.
“When I left school in 1961 there was seven jobs for everyone that left school – as long as you had two arms, two legs and could hold a spanner you could get a job.
“Now it’s a different skillset.”
The jobs fair on Thursday was the third organised by Weaver Valley MP Graham Evans.
He said: “I organised the first one, three years ago, because unemployment went up so I said ‘what can I do about this?’.
“Unemployment figures are reducing but I would like to see them below three per cent and jobs fairs help with that.
“We’ve done this in partnership with Mid Cheshire College because young people are their business and helping to connect these people with good quality jobs and opportunities.
“It’s all happening in Northwich and in Cheshire generally, things are looking up for this particular area.”
INDEPENDENT traders in Northwich town centre were praised by Pete Waterman, who enjoys shopping in the town.
He praised the quality of goods and the personal touch by staff who care about their customers.
“I only shop in Northwich,” he said.
“I find the quality in Northwich.
“There was a time when Northwich town centre was dying and there were more charity shops than anything else but it’s turning round now.
“The great thing that I’ve noticed about Northwich is that they’re very adaptable up here, more than in London, and change very quickly – like when the recession hit the butchers started selling cheaper cuts of meat.
“We can’t lose these communities because they’re important and they need staff.
“Local staff will always do better than someone who doesn’t know the area because they know Bert or Bill – and we always like to be called Bert or Bill.”