The local economy is much stronger now than four years ago, and unemployment is 40 per cent below the rate in 2010. I want to see this progress continue by making sure that we are doing all we can to support the growth of local businesses, and by helping people who are looking for work to find for right job for them.
On Thursday this week I will be holding the second Folkestone Jobs Fair, at the Leas Cliff Hall. The event starts at 10am and runs until 3pm and I hope that you are able to come and join us. The fair features some of the largest local employers, like Saga and Holiday Extras, as well as successful established firms like H.V Wooding, the Hythe based engineering company, and the Port Lympne animal park and resort. The event is being supported by Shepway District Council who will be able to give advice about the Shepway Apprenticeships scheme, which has already played a crucial role in matching up local businesses with young people who are looking for training and employment. The number of apprenticeships available in our area has trebled over the last few years, and they remain an excellent way into a permanent full time position.
The Folkestone Job Centre team will also be at the Jobs Fair throughout the day. As well as giving advice on the local jobs market, they are there to help with information about training courses, writing CVs and preparing for interviews. Whether you are looking for a new job, to get back into work, or simply interested in seeing what's available, I hope that you to come along for part of the day. You can find out more about the jobs fair online at www.folkestonejobsfair.co.uk
The Folkestone Triennial came to its formal conclusion last weekend, and I would like to congratulate Lewis Biggs, Alastair Upton and everyone involved at the Creative Foundation for such an excellent event. It was probably the biggest and most successful yet. I look forward to a selection of works from this year's Triennial joining the permanent collection of public works of art that have been gifted to the people of Folkestone by the Creative Foundation and the Roger De Haan charitable trust. This investment in the arts is bringing visitors to our town, and attracting widespread interest and publicity for our area. It is a great shame as the Triennial drew to its conclusion, and in stark contrast to the creation of new artworks for the town that it brings, the Godden family decided to remove the Banksy painting from the wall of their building in Payers Park. I have been assured by Jeremy Godden the mural is safe, and has not yet been sold. The asking price for it is likely to be in excess of £125,000 with the profits being donated to their family charitable trust. I want to see this artwork restored to the people of Folkestone and put back on display in the town. I hope the Godden family will work with us to achieve this end.