FIVE hundred seasonal jobs are being created at the Hampshire theme park that was given an unexpected plug in a major speech by Boris Johnson.

Paultons Park – home of Peppa Pig World – will be hiring 40 per cent more seasonal staff than its previous record in 2021.

Business at Paultons was boosted by the opening of a new themed area, Tornado Springs, last year.

The attraction, at Ower near Romsey, says the latest recruitment drive will offer staff more flexibility in their hours and promote a good work-life balance.

Darren Vann, the attraction’s head of human resources, said: “We’re looking for 500 fantastic people to join our team next year. 2022 is an exciting year for Paultons. We’ll be celebrating the opening of another new ride in Tornado Springs, Farmyard Flyer, and will be looking forward to hopefully the first normal season after the pandemic.

“Everyone has a part to play in ensuring our guests have a memorable, safe and enjoyable day at the park whereby they will want to visit again and recommend us to friends and family. We are looking for people who can help deliver this, whether that be in a part time role around your studying, or a career change into a new role, or something to keep you busy between home commitments.”

The park is looking to fill jobs in time for the new season starting on February 19. There are vacancies for ride operators, entertainments assistants and cleaners, as well as roles in retail/admissions, food and beverage, first aid, gardens, grounds and the zoo team on weekdays, weekends and school and bank holidays.

Matthew Buckler, who joined the park as a seasonal ride operator in 1990, became a permanent member of the zoo team five years later and has since worked in nearly every department before joining HR.

He said: “Paultons is a fantastic place to work. I quickly realised that while in my first role operating rides. The support from the company is great. It has enabled me to progress and find a career path that suits my skills.

“Many of the colleagues I worked with during my first season at Paultons have stayed and grown their responsibility within the company. Aside from the brilliant career progression, I like the fact that I am part of a diverse workforce and it’s great to see everyone of all ages and experience come together.”

The park says seasonal staff are offered “competitive” pay, free parking, subsidised food and free park tickets.

Paultons’ Peppa Pig World attraction unexpectedly became the focus of national attention when Boris Johnson mentioned it last November in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry at South Shields.

During a speech criticised as “rambling”, he said: “I was a bit hazy what I would find at Peppa Pig World but I loved it. Peppa Pig World is very much my kind of place.”