National Steel Car job fair: 1,100 people apply for 400 jobs

A Hamilton rail car maker that is looking to hire 400 people says about 1,100 turned up for its job fair Saturday.

1,100 turn up for 400 jobs at Hamilton rail car maker's job fair

A recruiter, left, shakes hands with a job seeker at National Steel Car's job fair on Saturday. About 1,100 people turned out for the event that aimed to fill 400 positions at the plant. (Sunnie Huang/CBC)

Parking spots were scarce on Kenilworth Avenue outside the building in the heart of Hamilton's industrial area where National Steel Car held its job fair Saturday.

Those who were lucky enough to get a parking spot hurried inside, holding manila envelops with their resumés, only to be met with a huge lineup of job seekers.

The job fair, which aimed to fill 400 openings the rail car maker advertised, attracted about 1,100 people. 

The fair was scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but some job seekers arrived more than two hours before the opening. By noon, the head count was already at 600. 

"We've done job fairs before, but haven't got this kind of volume," Hal Bruckner, vice-president of human resources, told CBC Hamilton. 

Bruckner and five other recruiters were still processing applications well after the closing time. 

Job seekers form a huge lineup outside the human resources office at National Steel Car's job fair on Saturday. (Sunnie Huang/CBC)

The bulk of the jobs, around 300, are for welders and the demand for welders is so high that the firm is starting its own welding school, Bruckner said.

Another 100 positions are in other roles such as crane operators, lift truck drivers and electricians. There is also one opening for an IT person. 

The 120-year-old firm's hiring spree is caused by the increasing demand for rail to transport various commodities such as potash, plastic pellets and grain.

Those hired can expect a starting salary of $21 an hour, which will rise to $25 an hour after a year, and full benefits to kick in after 580 hours of work.

With files from The Canadian Press

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