Hundreds queue in the snow as 50 jobs go up for grabs at science and technology firm

Over 350 people queued in the snow on Thursday for a chance to land one of 50 jobs up for grabs at an Irvine-based science and technology company.

And more than 200 more hopeful candidates turned up at Merck’s second recruitment day on Friday at the Riverside Hotel.

Biotech company Merck, which currently boasts a 300 strong workforce at its Irvine site, is offering up 50 new positions in their manufacturing, warehouse, and quality control departments.

Its Irvine site produces cell culture media — food for cells — in both liquid and powder forms which supports the production of treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and dementia.

And the mammoth two-day event searching for 50 new employees to join its ranks took three months to plan.

HR business partner and event organizer Angela McConnachie spoke about the event’s success.

She said: “The recruitment event has been a massive success and by the end of the first day alone we had a huge number of very good candidates to select from.

“There will definitely be hires from those who came along to the event.

“It’ll be very difficult to make the final selections because there have been hundreds of extremely good candidates who came along.”

Merck’s recruitment drive is a testament to the company’s commitment to Ayrshire and its local talent, explains Angela.

“It’s a big commitment we’ve put to the event with a minimum of 120 employees attending,” Angela added.

“In the past, we have primarily hired people with degrees so a lot of our hires have come from Glasgow and then they travel to the site, but we changed the focus in some areas and asked ourselves do all of our employees need to have a degree to do all of the jobs we need them to do and we realized that they didn’t.

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“We wanted to tap into the local market and area.

“I researched the local area when setting up the event and what stood out to me was that North Ayrshire has a higher than average unemployment rate, it’s not huge but it is still higher than both the Scottish and UK averages.

“Additionally, the Scottish Government deprivation index uses 182 data points and 52 of those data points for North Ayrshire are within the 15 percent most deprived areas in the whole of Scotland.

“We want Merck to be an employer of choice in Ayrshire and attract the best of local talent.”

Successful candidates will receive private medical and pension benefits alongside a living wage.

And to support new employees, the biotech company is setting up the ‘Merck Irvine Learning Academy’ later this year.

“The academy will be a dedicated building on our Irvine site that everyone will go through,” said Angela.

“One of our long-term goals is to bring people in and give them the skills to do their roles rather than seeking people with the skills already.

“Merck is a very stable and profitable company and the Irvine facility has been manufacturing the same products for over 30 years and the site itself has been in the town since the late 60s.

“For potential employees, they know they are joining a stable company and we offer very good benefits like private medical and pension.

“We did a review of the salaries last year and, age dependent, our aim was to get our employees to the living wage.”

Representatives from DWP Job Center and from The Lennox Group, who support people getting back into employment, were on hand over the two-day event.

The majority of attendees were given at least one interview for their desired role. Successful candidates then moved on to a secondary interview.

It is hoped successful candidates will be getting the good news by the end of next week.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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