MORE than 1,500 jobseekers flocked to the second Halesowen and Rowley Regis Jobs Fair, but those looking for work at Tesco’s new Stourbridge store left “disgruntled” after being told to apply online, it was claimed this week.

Eager job hunter Sarah Heathcote said more than a dozen people who had queued outside for the opening of the fair at the Cradley Heath Salvation Army Centre, Meredith Street, left without even going inside.

“We were told at the door that if we were there for the Tesco jobs we had to apply online and quite a lot of people were disgruntled and stomped off as they had gone dressed up and with CVs,” said Miss Heathcote.

The 33-year-old, from Stourbridge, who has since got a job as a cleaner at the store which opens on October 31 through an agency, said she did look round the fair, but saw more training and apprenticeship opportunities than jobs, and more Tesco would-be workers were turning round in the doorway as she was leaving.

However, 150 jobs were offered at last month’s event, which was the second one organised by Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris and attracted more than twice as many people as last year’s.

There were 31 stalls representing employers and training providers, including Jaguar Land Rover, Cradley Heath-based classic car insurers Footman James, local firm Lift and Engineering Services and Halesowen-based R82 which produces mobility equipment for disabled children and young people.

Mr Morris said: “I wasn’t sure whether we could top last year’s event and so was overwhelmed to see more than twice as many people attending and delighted that we had more job vacancies on offer and more apprenticeships available.

“The number of people in Halesowen and Rowley Regis who are in work has continued to rise over the past year, but I want to do everything I can to help local people who are looking for employment to secure new jobs.

“We are already planning next year’s event to see how we can make it even better and so if any local businesses would like to get involved in getting Halesowen and Rowley Regis working, please get in touch.”

Kieron Slocombe, boss of R82 UK, based on the Coombswood Business Park, said the fair was the best he had attended and encouraged other local firms to use next year’s event to recruit staff.