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Jobs Expo in Cairns ahead of peak season

By November 18, 2022November 21st, 2022No Comments

Retail trade is the second largest employing industry in Cairns, representing around 16,000 jobs at the beginning of 2022 ( With the consumer spending trend continuing to rise, finding staff for the busy Christmas trade period is high on retailers’ agendas.

On 21 October 2022, DFO Cairns, a large retail mall in Westcourt, hosted its first Jobs Expo in partnership with Jobfind. As a government-funded employment service in Cairns, Jobfind is a key connector of job seekers with employers. Jobfind’s three employment programs in the Cairns region support hundreds of people looking for work to find and keep suitable employment.

Amber Congdon and Suha McCartney coordinate Jobfind’s Employability Skills Training (EST) program in Cairns. The program supports people to boost their job search and work preparedness and includes introductions to local industries. The EST team organised the Jobs Expo at DFO to help their job seekers access local jobs in retail and property management services.

L-R: Amber Congdon and Suha McCartney

 “We know that local employers have vacancies to fill. It makes great sense to help our job-ready participants access these in-demand job opportunities, “says Amber.

When Amber approached Mark Farquhar, Portfolio Manager at DFO Cairns, with the idea of assisting his tenants with a free recruitment drive, Mark thought it was a good initiative.

Connecting job seekers and employers

Mark says finding the right people is one of the biggest challenges faced by retailers in regional areas.

“We immediately saw opportunities to assist our retailers with recruitment and we collectively discussed the idea of a ‘Jobs Expo’ where genuine job seekers could come to DFO Cairns to seek potential employment with the retailers,” explains Mark.

In the Employability Skills Training Program in Cairns, participants undertake a 3-week course that includes support to improve digital literacy, explore aptitudes, career and study options, and learn core competencies towards a Certificate III in business.

To create a pathway to real jobs, Jobfind arranges industry awareness experiences – work tasters, site visits and employer talks – so that participants can better understand the ins and outs of local industries.

“That’s why the DFO recruitment drive was a great collaboration to benefit our job seekers as well as local employers,” says Suha.

What employers are looking for

Amber and Suha were able to introduce their job seekers to a variety of employers at the Jobs Expo, including Edge Clothing Company, Alive Pharmacy, Corporate Cleaning Services and Manpower Professional Services.

During the Jobs Expo, employers were impressed by candidates’ punctuality, good personal presentation and a willingness to satisfy customers’ needs.

“The top in-demand skills remain consistent across many industries, and the good news is these skills are highly transferable across occupations, jobs and industries,” says Suha.


Source: Recruitment Trends and Employer Needs – Cairns ER Sept 22 (

A job for Lennik in time for Christmas

Lennik, aged 18, attended the recruitment drive with hopes of landing a job with a cleaning company.

She commenced the EST course with Jobfind earlier in October, showing great commitment to the program from Day 1.

On the day of the Jobs Expo, Lennik was the first participant to arrive and interview, leaving a great impression on everyone she connected with.

Girl holds purple Jobfind photo frame

Lennik secured a full-time job after the Jobs Expo

As a result of the Jobs Expo, Lennik was offered a full-time job in commercial cleaning and commenced work the following week.  “We are absolutely thrilled that Lennik’s hard work has paid off,” says Suha.

More collaboration in the pipeline

The inaugural Jobs Expo saw more than a dozen job seekers on income support and four employers participate. Both Jobfind and DFO Cairns are keen to create more opportunities for employers and job seekers to connect and fulfil workforce needs.

“Most certainly, we will be looking to do another event like this one,” says Mark.

Employers seeking assistance with workforce solutions can get in touch with Jobfind in their local region: Get in touch