Kurri Hydro smelter hosts jobs market

KEVIN Jeans lost his job when BHP closed in 1999 and was one of 550 sacked when Hydro Aluminium announced it would be shutting Kurri Kurri plant earlier this year.

But the 50-year-old was confident he would find work to take him into retirement after yesterday's jobs market at Hydro's Kurri Kurri smelter in Loxford.

Mr Jeans was a fitter at the steelworks and took on the role of a pot room operator at the aluminium smelter almost 12 years ago.

After leaving his resume with several of the 70 companies' on display at yesterday's jobs market he was confident he would find work as a fitter.

"I come from a fitter's background and it looks like that's where I'm headed again," the father of three adult children from Tenambit said.

"I put my resume into a few places and I'm pretty sure I'll get something."

Minister for Employment Participation Kate Ellis granted about $40,000 in funding for the jobs market, in addition to plant owners Norsk Hydro, and was in Kurri Kurri to witness its success.

Flanked by federal member for the Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon and his state counterpart Clayton Barr, Ms Ellis said there were close to 6500 jobs on offer.

"This is a great opportunity for Hydro Aluminium workers and local job seekers interested in undertaking training to meet a range of employers and training providers in a single location," she said.

Recruitment companies occupied many of the displays inside the market but there was also a strong presence from the mining sector, with Pacific National, Orica, Resco Mining, Ampcontrol and BHP Billiton.

Norsk Hydro will stage the departures until the end of September, but pot room team co-ordinator Matt Hawke is out the door next Wednesday.

"The best thing about this for me was the opportunity to meet with so many companies face-to-face and you know they want to recruit people," Mr Hawke said.

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