THE Minister for Employment visited a cinema in Taunton yesterday (July 29).

Mims Davies, MP for Mid Sussex, headed to the Odeon to relaunch the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Job Help scheme.

The scheme, which was announced last July, has a range of different opportunities for people who are out of work, including Kickstart, Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) and more.

Mrs Davies spoke to employers and employees who have benefit from the scheme in Somerset, and showcased the newly released job ad to advertise Job Help.

She said: "We are coming to the tail end of furlough, and we are re-opening the economy, and it was really important to make sure we got that sense of renewal, optimism and opportunity out there through this new Job Help website.

"Summer is a perfect time to get into people's consciousness, as they are thinking about the next stage, maybe of summer hospitality jobs or indeed going back to work after furlough, so that's why we came up with this campaign this summer.

"There's more than 150,000 jobs live across the DWP for young people to be showcased to and learn about, and that will really make sure we don't have that pandemic generation, and we are removing those barriers of those people getting into work."

The conference was held at the Odeon, so the job ad could be showcased on one of the cinema screens.

"I knew I had to come back to Taunton as you have a fantastic creative and arts scene here," Mrs Davies added.

"It has been brilliant to meet the kickstarters and it is so brilliant to be close to the smell of popcorn and pick-a-mix - we have missed many things in lockdown and the cinema has certainly been one of them."

MP for Taunton Deane, Rebecca Pow, also attended the event.

Somerset County Gazette: GOOD IDEA: MP for Taunton Deane, Rebecca Pow, at the Job Help launch in Taunton

She said the Job Help scheme will really help to 'retain the skills base in Somerset', as 'quite often' young people leave the county and find jobs elsewhere.

"If we can demonstrate there are really good jobs here with opportunities for training and progression, hopefully we will keep more of them here," she added.

"There are lots of opportunities opening up for green jobs, we will need a whole army of people trained in anything from land management to soil management, ecology - a whole range of measures, with knowledge of this new world.

"I also think young people in lockdown young people have re-engaged with nature and so lots of them are interested in these jobs."

Employers have received support from Somerset Chamber of Commerce. The chamber also used the scheme themselves to employ Hayley, who works as an operations administrator.

Jenn Chidley-Sanders, who leads the scheme at Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: "When we heard about the kickstart scheme, it seemed the perfect opportunity for businesses to support young individuals.

"It has not been without its challenges, but overall it has been exceptional. We have had 480 roles approved and we have had 170 young starters in businesses, which has been absolutely wonderful to see."