From Bollinger to dole queues Boris gives advice
PUBLISHED: 11:03 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 17:22 25 August 2010
THE London Mayor met with people at the sharp end of a battle to find employment and declared Bexley to be at the vanguard in tackling dole queues.
THE London Mayor met with people at the sharp end of a battle to find employment and declared Bexley to be at the "vanguard" in tackling dole queues.
Boris Johnson was in bullish form on Tuesday, meeting workers at the newly opened Welling Morrisons in the High Street, then going on to Erith Job Centre Plus centre where 140 new jobs at the supermarket were sourced.
He officially unveiled both sites, but was on a mission to find out how successful the Job Centre and Resources Plus facility is at raising job-seeker aspirations.
Mr Johnson met butchers, bakers and customer service employees at Morrisons who were on the dole queue but whose skills were assessed and then placed by the centre.
Speaking with enough gusto to force London out of recession, he addressed the crowd and said: "This isn't just the opening of a supermarket in Welling, it's the beginning of an economic fight back in south-east London.
"I declare this supermarket even more open than it was eight days ago!"
The Mayor then urged any bankers who were getting bonuses this Christmas to support their local supermarkets adding: "Scrooge was a banker, but he earned his redemption by spending money on the common man.
"So get yourself down to Morrisons and buy a bottle of Bollinger for £17."
Jobcentre Plus covers five boroughs and is a step up from traditional jobcentres.
The service is able to coordinate help under one roof for residents seeking work on employer-led training, assessment, lone parent support, literacy and numeracy, CVs and job searches. If successful they could be rolled out to more London boroughs.
Mr Johnson said: "These facilities make a huge psychological difference, the fact it's so welcoming encourages people to come and builds confidence.
"Bexley is very much at the vanguard in tackling unemployment with this kind of service.
"London is showing signs of recovery in the retail, housing and banking sectors but what really counts is employment and jobs in outer boroughs."
He spoke with unemployed security guard, Matthew James from Northumberland Heath, 35, and Boniface Matibir, 58, from Erith who was swotting up on revision technique in one of the site's computer rooms. The Mayor confessed he hated interviews but ended the conversation with: "Good luck, give 'em hell!"
Since April this year it has found 300 people a job and helped over 200 residents achieve vocational accreditation.
It was built through Bexley council and the Department for Communities and Local Government. Cash to run it comes from the London Development Agency and the council.