By Hasina Momtaz
Last night was the first episode of Channel 4’s The Job Centre which follows the fortunes of job seekers in Bradford looking for work and the recruitment agency that tries to place them, Candelisa People.
Candelisa is run by successful, award-winning businesswoman, Jane Vincent, and the moment you hear her infectious laughter, you immediately warm to her. That’s because, as well as coming across as a perceptive and savvy businesswoman, she also strikes you as someone who isn’t afraid of hard work and genuinely understands the needs of both clients and jobseekers.
In the first episode, we see Jane going ‘back to the shop floor’ and getting down on her hands and knees (in inimitable and glamorous Jane style in black heels and lacy tights), scrubbing toilets for three hours to win a contract to place cleaners at the Marriot Hotel. Her perseverance pays off and she bags the contract (no doubt, it’s a designer bag!).
The other characters in the show are the staff and the jobseekers. Oh and there’s also the regular obscene caller who certainly keeps the staff entertained as they put him on speaker to gather round and listen. I expect he’ll make another ‘appearance’ somewhere in the remaining three episodes of the show.
There is of course a serious side to the show, which highlights some of the issues facing those in the employment market, from both sides of the fence – those who are looking for work and those who are trying to find suitably skilled staff.
Jane and her staff try to address these issues with their professional approach but they also come across as genuinely caring about the people they are trying to place, especially Carlos who tries to help cannabis smoker, Danny, turn his life around and keep a steady job.
Jane won the Entrepreneur Award at the Bradford Inspirational Women Awards in 2012 and later co-founded the Inspirational Women Foundation with former Asian Sunday Editor, Fatima Patel.
If the recruitment business ever dries up, I can see Jane as the host of a TV chat show in the vein of Graham Norton, with a larger than life personality who will ask the guests all the saucy questions that the viewer’s really want to know about! And all with a laugh and a big dose of tongue-in-cheek!
Catch Jane and the team at The Job Centre on Wednesdays on Channel 4 at 10pm.