MORE than 500 people stopped off at Hexham Mart on Thursday to visit the Tynedale Jobs Fair.

A record 40 businesses took part in the employment showcase, which was organised by Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman, with support from local employer Egger and pub operator Punch.

“It was a fantastic event and I was so pleased to see so many people,” said Mr Opperman.

“Tynedale has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the entire country, but I’m determined to keep on pushing until everyone who wants one has a job.

“I am passionate about making sure that we have a strong local economy here in Tynedale, with as many people taking home a decent pay packet as possible.”

Representatives from the Co-op and Intu shopping centres were among those who joined careers advice staff and charitable organisations to offer tips and guidance to job seekers.

Recruitment co-ordinator at Egger Karen Povey said: “The event provides local people with a great opportunity to ask our employees about their own career and training development experiences and get a real flavour of what it is like to work in manufacturing.”

Mr Opperman added: “I must also thank all of the supporters and local employers who turned out to make the day such a success.”

The total number of unemployed claimants in the Hexham constituency last month was 420.

This represents a rate of 1.2 per cent of the economically- active population aged 16 to 64 – the 518th highest rate for employment of the 650 UK constituencies.

Currently, the total number of claimants of both Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit in the constituency is 71 lower than the same month last year and eight lower than last month.

The number of claimants aged 18-24 in the Hexham constituency almost halved over the last year to 65 in July 2016, which is 55 lower than in July 2015.