UNEMPLOYMENT is falling in Canterbury, making it a good place to find a job, and there is one sector that’s crying out for qualified applicants – nursing. At the end of last year reports revealed that hospital bosses in the region have resorted to recruiting nurses from Italy to fill their vacancies.
They are not the only hospital trust in the country to do this. Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust in Staffordshire and Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester both turned to Italy to recruit healthcare workers last year.
With ease of movement throughout the European Union and the continued recession in many European countries, it’s not surprising nursing staff are keen to work in the UK, but it does underline the availability of jobs in the sector in Canterbury. East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust invested £2.9 million to recruit 70 nurses last year on salaries of around £22,000 per annum after the Care Quality Commission recommended an increase in frontline medical staff.
Bosses blamed a national shortage of qualified nursing staff for the decision to recruit overseas and this move shines a spotlight on an area were jobs are waiting. And who can blame the Italian nurses for coming to work at Kent and Canterbury Hospital? Situated in one of the most beautiful cities in the country and only a stone’s throw, well, 60 miles, from the bright lights of London, Canterbury has a lot to offer those trying to find a new job.
And it’s not just the hospitals that are recruiting in Canterbury. Thanks to its many attractions including Canterbury Cathedral, and its close proximity to the coast – Whitstable and Herne Bay are only half an hour’s drive away with Margate and Ramsgate a little further – the leisure and tourism industries are strong and Canterbury itself is also carving out a niche as a hub for technology companies who want a cheaper base outside the pricey capital.
Retail is strong in Canterbury following the development in 2001 of the Whitefriars shopping complex to complement the raft of independent shops and it also has a vibrant arts scene, thanks in part to its connections to Geoffrey Chaucer and Christopher Marlowe, after whom the main Marlowe Theatre is named.
The latest unemployment figures for Canterbury, which has the second largest local economy in Kent, show that 1,139 people are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, a drop of 0.7% on last year and jobless numbers among younger people (18 to 24-year-olds) are also down, bucking the national trend.
With housing much more affordable than in London – the average house price in Canterbury is £289,107 as opposed to £464,936 – it’s not surprising that those Italian nurses, among many others, are heading to work in the city.
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