ONE of Basingstoke’s leading independent recruitment agencies has celebrated its 25th anniversary with a blast from the past.

Wote St Employment Bureau marked the mile-stone occasion in 1989 style with staff dressed in the fashions of that year, with lashings of hair spray, power suits and shoulder pads.

Among the day’s guests were The Mayor and Mayoress of Basingstoke and Deane Councillor Roger Gardiner and Tricia Gardiner The celebration also saw the start of a new chapter for the firm as the business set up by managing director Meta Oxley-Vale was rebranded Wote Street People.

Meta, originally started in the world of recruitment back in 1987, before starting her own business called The Workshop that initially specialised in driving placements.

“I saw there was a gap in the market,” recalled Meta. “The main core of the business at that time was driving, but we also offered commercial and industrial placements too.

“Since then the business has evolved – that’s why we have been a success for 25 years.

“Our niche is small to medium sized businesses in Basingstoke, helping people who don’t have an HR department.”

After the first 10 years, the business moved to nearby Wote Street and was appropriately renamed Wote St Employment Bureau.

Meta has certainly seen some changes in the industry over the last quarter-of-a-century.

She said: “Years ago, we got a lot of people walking through the door, whereas now people contact us through our website. However, after that initial contact we still need to meet them in person at our offices.”

Wote Street People is busier than ever at the moment, particularly with placements for sales and marketing roles, reflecting the buoyant local economy.

“When businesses are growing, they usually take on more sales people,” explained Meta. “But we’ve been busy from day one, from when we had the motto over our door that said ‘people are our strength’.”

It is a mantra that the firm still uses today.

“The business is only as good as the people we send to work – we have to be good to stay in business.

“However, I’ve got a very good team led by operations director Maxine Hart,” said Meta, who added: “I’d like to thank everybody who has supported us as well as my family, over 25 years, as they too have had to make sacrifices.”