LEADING employers from across Dorset came together to offer advice and information to jobseekers at the latest Daily Echo Job Fair.

The event, which was free to attend, took place at the Premier Inn on Bournemouth's Westover Road, providing the perfect opportunity for jobhunters and employers to meet each other in an informal setting.

As well as talking to potential employers about opportunities available, those attending were able to take advantage of free workshops and advice offered once again by Best Training.

Around 30 companies took part in the fair, representing a wide range of businesses from a solicitors' practice to a bus company, and care providers to a construction industry recruitment company, as well as training providers and charities looking for volunteers.

Nigel Stephens, engagements consultant for Prospects, which runs a Links to Work programme supporting people to get back to work, said: "We've had quite a bit of interest. It's getting everyone who's in the same boat in the same place."

Abby Russell, director of Tender Care, one of the event's sponsors, said jobs fairs were "essential" in providing a link between jobhunters and employers, adding: "It's so diverse, you can be looking at one thing and see something totally different."

The event also aimed to offer volunteering opportunities, and to raise awareness about issues including mental health in the workplace.

Rob Griffith, volunteer manager at Dorset Mind, said: "We are here primarily to get volunteers, because we wouldn't be able to operate without volunteers. But we are also making links with some of the other people that are here.

"Everybody has some contact with mental health - some people have been made redundant recently, so we've spoken to a few of those, and we do offer training as well, so we've been speaking to people around that - it's not just about recruiting people."

Other exhibitors included Lifeways, Royal Navy and Royal Marines, 1st for Care, Colten Care, Goadsby Estate Agents, Pramacare, Mploy Staffing Solutions, Agincare, Tender-Care, Health-online,

Nurse Plus, Autism Wessex, FTS, Isupply Energy, Branksome Park Care Centre, Go South Coast, Appello, Westover Group, BCHA, Dutton Gregory Solicitors and Boveridge College.