THERE are three vacancies at Bridgwater’s Jobcentre for every jobseeker, the Mercury can reveal.

The surprising figure was revealed in an exclusive interview with Sedgemoor District Council economy chief Phill Adams, who believes there are many reasons to be optimistic going in to 2013.

Mr Adams told the Mercury: “We have about 1,100 or 1,200 people in Sedgemoor to get back into work but that’s not a huge amount when you consider that Hinkley Point will at peak employ 6,000 people.

“If people want a job there will be work.”

The council’s economic development manager said despite the surplus of jobs, there are still skills gaps which are not being filled locally.

He said: “In 2013 we are going to have to up our game in recruiting people.

“We have a lot of activity and it's about how we get local people into those jobs.

“We cannot get enough engineers for example. Hinkley Point also needs welders, from basic to grade four, the types of people who work on submarines and oil rigs.

“The UK doesn't have enough of these people and we don't have those people here.”

Mr Adams admitted many of the jobs created in the district over the past decade have been in the service sector, and the traditionally better-paid manufacturing jobs have been lost.

Latest figures show average monthly wages in Sedgemoor fell by £12 (2.7%) between 2010 and 2011; in Somerset as a whole, wages rose by 1% over the same period.

Mr Adams said several sites around Sedgemoor, including the Puriton Energy Park, have been earmarked for new businesses likely to pay higher wages, such as engineering firms or offices.

He also said there was the potential for more jobs being created with further expansion around the Isleport Business Park, in Highbridge.