Sussex has it all: dramatic cliffs, beaches stretching for miles, rolling downland and a bounty of historic villages nestled in acres of woodland and fertile farmland. Alongside its natural beauty and undeniably convenient proximity to London, Sussex is also home to a number of thriving towns and cities, including Brighton & Hove, the pretty Victorian seaside resort of Eastbourne, and Hastings – the up-and-coming music and arts hub of the south. In general, quality of life across the county is high. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the South East region (covering Sussex and Surrey) has the lowest rate of unemployment across England, at just 2.4% compared to the North East region, which has the highest rate at 5.4%. However, despite its high desirability factor and comparatively low unemployment rate, ONS figures show there are still around 220,000 people without jobs in Sussex.

Local jobs, local advice, local inspiration

Four years ago, local businessman Gary Peters launched a venture to help tackle unemployment in Sussex. He was – and still is, passionate about driving economic growth by linking jobseekers with the businesses that need them. From this passion, BrightonAndHoveJobs.com was born, an online platform providing two indispensable services: a search engine for local jobs, and a resource offering applicable advice and guidance for both job seekers and recruiters.

Since 2010, Gary has expanded his service rapidly across the whole of Sussex and most recently into Surrey. GatwickDiamondJobs.com was launched in 2011, followed by the award-winning BEACH (Brighton Employability Advice & Careers Hut) site, 1066Jobs.com and CoastalWesSussexJobs.com in 2013, topped off by LoveEastbourneJobs.com this summer. To tie all of these platforms together, the umbrella site LoveLocalJobs.com was launched, linking users to a wide range of useful resources through its responsive, user-friendly interface.

From the city to the sea

Earlier this year, recruitment expert Nick Binning swapped the city lifestyle to a life by the sea in order to head up the LoveLocalJobs team in Brighton. With 20 years experience leading recruitment teams for top companies under her belt, Nicky has a wealth of knowledge and insight to share. She has lived and worked all over the world – in California, Zurich and India, but now she is back where it all began, in Brighton, the very city in which she earned her first BA in Business Studies.

“I love being so close to the South Downs and the sea,” she told us in a recent interview. “Some areas are very beautiful. I went to Uni down here, so I always wanted to come back one day – and I wouldn’t swap it for the world!

It’s not just the scenery I love. Working in Brighton has been very interesting. There seems to be a lot of passion from people and businesses about local issues and agendas. Everybody seems keen to get involved with the community and work towards a better future – something that I didn’t see happen in London.”

Nicky is positive that, with the rallying support of local organisations, charities and businesses, the economic climate in Sussex can only continue to improve: “There are pockets of opportunity across Sussex – especially in the Brighton and Gatwick area. In Hastings the unemployment rate is higher but overall there is a definite feeling of confidence in the economy, and a clear movement towards recovery,” she said.

Together, Sussex can grow

LoveLocalJobs currently works with 27 prominent organisations based in Sussex, including West Sussex County Council, American Express, Bupa and Hastings Borough Council. Together, they aim to open new doors, create more job opportunities and inspire communities and individuals to raise their aspirations and find new pathways to find work for everyone, regardless of their position. Earlier this year, LoveLocalJobs’ founder was chosen by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise partnership to help ‘encourage young people to become the enterprising entrepreneurs of tomorrow’.

Nicky believes young people form the core of economic growth in Sussex, but results of a recent carried out by LoveLocalJobs showed that too many graduates leave University lacking the skills to function in the workplace. Nicky said: “Equipping young people with employment skills is incredibly important. Based on my experience working with KPMG, we had around 30,000 graduate applications a year. We had to sift through these and identify the most employable candidates – and these were the ones with communication and team work skills.

“Adaptability is another major skill for young people. Jobs exist now that didn’t five years ago. Being able to adapt quickly is essential today. For young people these skills represent the difference between getting the job and not getting the job, regardless of qualifications.”

While some young people might lack essential workplace skills, Nicky believes the potential is there: it simply needs to be unleashed with the right information, training and guidance in place.

“There are so many reasons to take on young talent,” she said. “It is an investment in raw talent that can be shaped. There is a great advantage in having a young, open mind in the company. There’s no doubt that young people offer a core opportunity for growth in Sussex, but it is by no means just young people. Any good business knows there is strength in diversity, and taking on experienced job seekers has its own unique advantages.”

There are a number of resources available to jobseekers via LoveLocalJobs, including BEACH (Brighton Employability Advice & Careers Hut) on BrightonAndHoveJobs.com, and Take Off on GatwickDiamondJobs.com. These pages are designed by young people for young people, providing a number of creative tools for boosting skill sets in subjects such as interviews, applications, starting a job, keeping a job and managing money. Similar creatively themed resource hubs are set to go out on all of LoveLocalJobs’ portfolio.

To find out more, visit lovelocaljobs.com

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