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Graduate Recruitment Fair, Birmingham 29-30th October

Jill Gibbon draws spooks and arms dealers in B'ham

This month’s drawings come from a graduate recruitment fair, held at the NEC, Birmingham at the end of October. The impact of the recession was clear – the show barely filled one of the twenty exhibition halls, and it was dominated by defence. Exhibitors included BAE Systems, EADs, Rolls Royce, Selex, the army, air force, GCHQ and M15. In spite of this, defence was curiously absent from the list of careers in the show guide.

BAE Systems appeared, instead, under almost every other category of job – Engineering, Finance, Human Resources, IT, Logistics, Manufacturing, Purchasing and Research. The stands were equally obscure. BAE gave away sweets stamped with its logo and jelly beans, against a poster of a bizarrely irrelevant smiling dolphin.

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Next door, the army promised ‘loads of new friends’, while being ‘paid for the privilege’.

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M15 was also discrete with the slogan ‘be quietly successful’ and, although you’d think they’d be used to spying, they told me to go away when they noticed I was drawing.

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Only GCHQ was brazen about the nature of its work, with a vast globe torn in half by a zipper.

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Topics: Culture | Arms trade