Exhibitors have praised the quality of digital and tech candidates who braved the snow to attend last week’s hugely successful Leeds Digital Job Fair at the First Direct Arena.
Almost 1,000 people walked through the doors of the iconic city centre venue to meet the most diverse range of employers in the event’s short history, all with attractive career opportunities on offer.
One of the best-known debut exhibitors was the Royal Air Force. Speaking afterwards, Flight Lieutenant Phil Todd applauded the gathering organised by online jobs board Herd with support from Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID), Leeds City Council, Leeds Beckett University and the First Direct Arena.
He said: “This was the first year the RAF had attended the Leeds Digital Job Fair and we will definitely be looking to attend at the next event. The calibre of candidates and the number of job seekers was above expectation, and perfect for a technological force like the RAF.
“As an exhibitor, the Leeds Digital Job Fair – delivered by Herd – provided a plethora of diverse, high-calibre candidates. We received an abundance of interest in RAF Careers, both digital and the wider ranging opportunities on offer.
“RAF Careers doesn’t normally follow the crowd, it leads it. However, as a result of the success of the Leeds Digital Jobs Fair, we think this is definitely a Herd worth joining forces with. Great candidates, with a multitude of talents, looking to start a career or finding their next career step in the digital world.”
Another debutant was Leeds-based automotive data specialist cap hpi. Joel Albyn, cap hpi Product and Innovation Director, said: “This was our first time at the Leeds Digital Job Fair and we couldn’t be happier with how it went.
“Despite the snow, it was clear from the moment the doors opened that the ‘digital talent’ of Leeds was out in force and we were quickly inundated with folks wanting to talk about our development, product and data analytics roles.
“We talked to some great people with a wide range of experiences and skills, capturing the details of literally hundreds of interested candidates over the four hours. The event was huge success from our perspective – and the snow just added to the occasion!”
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) were also welcome first-time visitors to the event. Dan Tanham, DWP digital deputy director, said: “It’s great to see so many exciting companies recruiting hard in the thriving digital economy in Leeds. I was overwhelmed with not just the quantity but the quality of the delegates who had made it through the snow.
“It was great to meet them and share more about what we do at DWP Digital, as well as to learn from them about the changing expectations and experiences of highly skilled graduates from really quite varied backgrounds. This city clearly has a bright future driven by the engine of a vibrant digital skills community.”
Sky has been one of the biggest supporters of the Leeds Digital Job Fair, having exhibited on two previous occasions.
Tom Dean, recruitment partner at Sky, said: “The event was fantastic and given the weather the turnout was great. We were able to talk to hundreds of potential candidates from newcomers to the highly-experienced. Sky were able to not only talk about our roles, but our culture and values which we are very proud of.”
Amy De-Balsi, owner of Herd and founder of the Leeds Digital Job Fair, was delighted by the feedback from exhibitors and the many candidates she spoke to throughout the afternoon.
She said: “There was a wonderfully warm atmosphere inside the First Direct Arena, which was something from a contrast to the snowy scene outside. The huge turnout represented an excellent illustration of the resolve, determination and good humour that the Leeds digital sector is renowned for, and I commend everyone who made the effort to come along.
“Most importantly, our best-ever line-up of employers had many positive engagements with attendees and lots of tech vacancies will be filled as a result.
“That is why I established the event in 2016 and we are already making plans for Leeds Digital Job Fair 5.0 next year.”