From education to employment

Will London Be Ready in Time for 2012 Olympics?

London’s Olympic building and development projects are under threat due to a shortage in the number of students taking engineering courses, the National Forum of Engineering Centres (NFEC) has revealed.

The sheer scale of the operation to transform London’s East End into a magnificent Olympic city means the capital runs the risk of not being ready in time to host the 2012 Olympic Games unless prompt action is taken to encourage more young people to enrol on engineering courses.

Chief Executive of the NFEC, Mr. Billy Devine, raised his concerns, warning: “We will be unable to deliver the capacity necessary for the new buildings and infrastructure unless there is a rapid expansion of the apprenticeship programmes in these fields.” The development plans for London include building a main stadium as well as other buildings in addition to the development of CrossRail and other transport infrastructure.

A Call for Skills Academies

This follows Education and Skill’s Secretary, Ruth Kelly’s call for industry leaders to develop National Skills Academies, predicting a greater demand for technical skills by 2012. Aside from the excitement of hosting an event such as the Olympic Games, backers of London’s bid have from the outset emphasised the positive economic impact the Games will have on London’s East End.

Investing in engineers today will not only ensure that the young people choosing to take engineering courses will prosper in the run up to the Games but that they will also be equipped with a sound basis of knowledge and practical skills that will ensure they remain highly employable and a benefit to the community as a whole in the long run. The NFEC is an organisation that prides itself on its commitment to advancing education and training in engineering and technology and therefore regards the move to recruit greater numbers of engineering students as a further step towards achieving this goal.

There are several colleges in the East End that could, with sufficient funding, provide more places on such courses including Havering College of Further Education, Newham College, Thameside College, Tower Hamlets College and the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing. NEFC has pledged to hold negotiations with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in order to encourage it to work with these colleges to increase the number of available places on engineering courses and recruit the right calibre of students.

This move would not only provide young people with invaluable skills in a specialised area but will also secure the future of London’s 2012 Olympic Games.

Sara Hashash

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