Thousands of training opportunities have been opened up by the launch of a new centre for the National Skills Academy for Construction (NSAfC) at Thames House in Newham, London.
The specialist training centre will provide Londoners with the right skills to help bring large-scale projects, taking place for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games, into reality.
"As the ‘big build’ on the Olympic Park progresses a whole variety of skills will be needed from steel fixing to electrical trades. With the workforce for the Olympic Park and Olympic Village expected to peak at 11,000 in 2010, Thames House is giving people the chance to capitalise on these job opportunities by giving them the skills to work on the Olympic site. This training will not only help drive up employment in the five Host Boroughs and beyond but will also open up the construction industry to new workers other than the ‘traditional’ builder," said Tessa Jowell MP, Minister for the Olympics.
It will offer roughly 2,000 training places a year, which will be managed by the National Construction College (NCC), the largest construction training provider in Europe.
Mary Conneely, National Regeneration Director for the Learning and Skills Council, which will help fund the build, said: "National Skills Academies are a direct response to employers and their training needs. The centre will deliver relevant, high quality training programmes for employers in the construction sector, giving people in local areas the chance to gain the skills necessary to obtain work and contribute to the 2012 legacy and the wider regeneration of the area. The construction industry is a key component to the sustainability and growth of the economy in London both now and in the future."
Skills and Apprenticeships Minister, Lord Young, said: "I would like to congratulate the Board of the National Skills Academy for Construction, Construction Skills and all the employers and local authorities who are supporting the academy. The new training site is good news for the construction industry and the people of London.
"It will help to provide the training needed for construction projects as part of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games, and give many more people the opportunity to gain the skills needed so they can take advantage of new job opportunities."
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added: "The 2012 Games are providing unrivalled opportunities to boost skills in the capital. Graduates from these courses will be key to delivering the London Games on time but, more than that, their skills will be essential for other crucial infrastructure projects like Crossrail – projects that will ensure London emerges from this downturn in great shape to compete in the new global economy."
According to the Olympic Delivery Authority’s latest figures, nearly one in ten of the 4,101 strong workforce on the Olympic Park were previously unemployed. Its research shows almost one in ten is also a trainee, apprentice or on work placement. Over half live in the capital, and a fifth are a resident in the local area.