From education to employment

Research to Start on Skills for 2012 Games

The Olympic Games and Paralympics Games are to visit the throbbing hub of London’s special brand of hustle and bustle in 2012, and it is certain that areas of skills shortage will need to be addressed to ensure the smooth operation of the events.

The winning bid, ahead of cities such as Paris and Madrid and achieved fairly unless one is to believe rumours of mis – voting in recent months, will lead to a vast regeneration scheme for London’s East End amongst other things. The decision was reached that the skills required for successful Games should be determined, to ensure that all areas of industry and education work successfully in harmony towards the common goal.

Sporting Success

The research has been commissioned by the London Development Agency (LDA) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). The research is intended to analyse the skills and training requirements needed to build the Olympic Park and Legacy development in East London, and to stage the Games in 2012.

Proving that it is necessary to learn from past experiences, the research will analyse the skills needs that were the result of earlier Olympic, Paralympics and Commonwealth Games. It will also be necessary for the report to assess the needs for skilled workers in the run ““ up to the Games themselves, and the timetable for the Games. In keeping with the common policy of Government, the sharing of best practices will be encouraged in skills and employment training.

Is this the Key to Success?

The question remains, however, of how far this assessment of skills requirements will go. London has already been revealed to be exceeding Government Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets in training participation and education delivery, and as such surely the levels of training being offered have a longer term view of training success and stability in mind.

As vitally important as the Olympic Games and the Paralympics Games are to London and to the country, there is a genuine danger that too great a focus on a single event will result in a lopsided approach to employment and education. If our attention is too closely trained upon one month of activity, what will happen once the teams have departed? Will this leave London with a lasting legacy of success, with a workforce fully trained in fields where there remain jobs and opportunities?

Or will the result be thousands of people building up to one single event, and then left high and dry? Government investment is sure to be immense in the Games, but what of 2013? Or even September 2012? How much funding will be available for retraining people, to ensure that they can continue their lives in work, not worklessness?

It is entirely possible that the longer term view has been and will be taken ““ that the focus for skills and training will not revolve around a single month in 2012, but will focus on providing skills that can both be used for the Games and for the building of a successful life and economy in the months, years and decades beyond. As long as the skills agenda remains intact, and the Government of the day remain committed to both the improvement of Britain’s position in OECD tables on education participation and the provision of a skills set for young people to enter a workplace competently trained, the fears of an educational, training and employment pitfall will remain unrealised.

Jethro Marsh

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