HUDDERSFIELD bosses face a big battle to attract and keep talented staff, it was said - as firms new to the town compete for the best workers.

A meeting for local employers yesterday highlighted the likely impact that new business developments along Leeds Road will have on their firms.

About 1,500 jobs are expected to be created by major schemes over the next few years - including ones to redevelop the former Holiday Dyes and Chemicals site at Deighton and to create a business park at Bradley.

Among others, a new industrial estate is taking shape alongside Leeds Road playing fields and nursery products firm Mamas & Papas is expanding its site at Colne Bridge.

The meeting to brief employers was organised by Workforce Now, the umbrella body for employment support agencies in the town, including Jobcentre Plus, Kirklees Council's economic development agency, Calderdale and Kirklees Careers and Business Link for West Yorkshire.

Peter Thompson, regeneration services manager for Kirklees Council, said: "It is good news. There will be a lot more job opportunities for local people.

"But it creates a challenge for those trying to help recruitment for both new business and those already here."

Mr Thompson said the arrival of new businesses would stir up the labour market - with people seeking jobs offering better pay, conditions and prospects.

He said: "There will be significant changes."

Mr Thompson said bosses should not be complacent about retaining staff by assuming that new jobs created through the developments would be low-paid or menial.

He said: "We are not just talking about warehousing jobs.

"Poundstretcher is setting up its head office at the Hollidays site - that means it will need a large number of trained and qualified staff.

"Mamas & Papas will be needing designers and administration staff for its expansion."

Roger Rees, of Jobcentre Plus, said firms would have to make themselves more appealing to potential employees by ensuring they offered good quality jobs.

Employers should also widen their traditional recruitment pool to include disabled people and older workers.

Event chairman Steven Pollitt, a partner at Huddersfield law firm Eaton Smith, said: "We are going to see huge growth in the Leeds Road corridor. We have to do all we can to train and retain our staff."

David Powers, of Workforce Now, said employers with issues about recruitment could phone him on 01484 221413 or email him at