Stratford resorts to medieval methods to boost employment - The Stratford Observer
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18th Aug, 2022

Stratford resorts to medieval methods to boost employment

MEDIEVAL methods are hoped to give employment prospects in Stratford a boost.

The annual Stratford Mop Fair usually consists of a funfair for the district’s residents to enjoy.

But when it started in the 14th century, it was used by landowners around the county to meet prospective workers after the Black Death had decimated the population.

Now – in the wake of the Covid pandemic – the first ever ‘Job and Apprenticeship Fair’ will be held at the Stratford Playhouse in Rother Street to attract workers to fill shortages in the hospitality and leisure industries in the district, as well as in several other sectors.

A host of employers agencies will be on hand at the free event on October 12, to speak to would-be staff members.

Coun Matt Jennings, spokesman for tourism and economic development at Stratford District Council, said: “The Mop Fair has been a staple in Stratford for a very long time, but it’s been many years since it fulfilled its original purpose of recruiting people for work.

“With the pandemic having had a significant impact on businesses in Stratford district and beyond, we thought bringing back old traditions and hosting a Job and Apprenticeship Fair would be a great way for businesses looking to hire to meet people looking for work.

“We’d love to see plenty of people come down this year to not only enjoy the amazing funfair, but to potentially find a new job too.”

The Mop was so named because those looking for work would wear an item on their lapel showing what trade they were interested in – such as an ear of corn for farm work – known as a ‘mop’.

Kate Varvedo from Shakespeare’s England – the Destination Management Organisation for Warwickshire – added: “Tourism and hospitality are two industries that have been heavily affected by the pandemic, and Stratford’s economy has a high proportion of businesses in these two sectors.

“We need to do all we can to help these sectors recover as we emerge out of the pandemic. Bringing back the old traditions of the Mop Fair is a really fun way of helping businesses in the town find the staff they need and ultimately help the region’s economy bounce back.”

The traditional funfair will still take pride of place at the Mop Fair alongside the recruitment event, with plenty of rides and sideshows for visitors.

The Mop Fair will be held on Tuesday October 12, from 11am to 11pm.

Email recruitmentfair@stratford-dc.gov.uk for information on taking part.

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