£30m new hotel will help with jobs as county comes out of lockdown

Novotel Cambridge North

217-bedroom 4-star Novotel hotel, Cambridge North, across 6 storeys with a bar and restaurant, a gym and swimming pool, conference facilities, as well as 160 sqm of retail space and associated site works. It cost £30m. - Credit: McAleer & Rushe

Job Centres across Cambridgeshire are advertising 2,300 vacancies this month – up 800 on February.  

The figures were released by the Department of Work and Pensions who expect number of vacancies to rise as lockdown eases.  

Shaun Sadler, the senior operational leader at the department for this area, said Cambridgeshire had also recorded the least number of redundancies in the past year caused by the pandemic.  

Although Fenland and East Cambridgeshire had seen a continued rise in numbers claiming Universal Credit – slightly above the national rate – the area was beginning to see an increase employment rates.  

Unemployment rates were also beginning to move downwards, he said.  

He said: “We also have to remember that if all goes according to plan, we will be opening up the high street shortly and for retail, leisure and tourism it will be the start of their busiest season.” 

However, for the figures for those in receipt of Universal Credit are still high, particularly in Fenland where the number of claimants on February 11 had risen to 9,344 – up 236 in a month.  

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In East Cambridgeshire there were 4,758 on the same date, up 119 in a month, whilst in Cambridge the monthly increase of 220 put the overall total to 8,309.  

Mr Sadler feels the resilience of the labour market in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire will see jobs taken up in the coming weeks and months. 

Of the 2,300 vacancies on their books, the jobs on offer vary from health and social care to logistics and business administration. 

Job wise he expects Novotel to begin hiring shortly for their new hotel at Cambridge North rail station.  

And Oatly - the vegan milk company - is planning a major factory in Peterborough that will offer up to 200 jobs once it goes fully into production.  

Whitemoor Prison also has double figure vacancies. 

But once June comes, and life returns mainly to normal, Mr Sadler is confident that will be at the very least a seasonal employment boost.  

"Talking to our customers on a daily basis, I see the difference already,” he said. “Yes, it’s a struggle, yes its hard out there, especially for those unemployed for the first time and having for the first time to navigate the system.” 

His advice to those seeking a job would be to remember the market may not have quite the career choice they had in mind but opportunities were available, and he encouraged people to consider them.