Lord Coe praises the Further Education sector's engagement with London 2012
8 December 2011
We have worked very closely with both colleges and universities through our Podium programme. I came to realise how important Podium was going to be during the bidding process for the London 2012 Games.
I recognise the extraordinary wealth of talent there is in Further and Higher Education institutions throughout the country.
If you look at some of the specific needs of our volunteer programmes and some of the specific skills needed for the broader work force then there is a reserve of talent in schools and colleges that we would have been very foolish to turn our backs on.
I want to encourage colleges to help us and get involved through our Bridging the Gap programme. The scheme will help place SIA licensed young people into the Security and Public Services industry through Further and Higher Education sectors.
We recognised very early on in this process that we would need skilled volunteer security teams and Bridging the Gap has found a very obvious home in education. It is also important that our volunteer programmes are met by some of the skills set and our workforce teams as well. If you look at the 100,000 contractors we are broadly going to need from the 200,000 workforce for the Games in areas like catering, cleaning and security, then these are very obvious homes for a lot of those talents.
I went through the Further and Higher Education process and I am delighted with the role it plays. Hackney Community College is going to be the home for our volunteer training programmes, while the City of Westminster College has been developing skills that are going to be required in some of our catering jobs.
If you look at some of the things we have been working on within colleges, such as the creation and design of commemorative coins and the involvement in catering skills, many of these have been geared to creating opportunities and upskilling young people for different tasks. These are all very important to get young people understanding more about the London 2012 movement.
We also have our Get Set programme and I have spoken to young people who are supporting teams from Zambia and Ethiopia. Through the eyes of the athletes they understand a little bit more about the world they are living in. Podium has helped us to do exactly the same, albeit at a slightly more advanced level by the implication that those people are slightly older, and it is very important colleges continue to play the role they are. I want them to have the skills set and experiences, which allow them to go onto delivering really smart event management trained people.
I look at the Games through any number of optics. I have been lucky enough to have competed in the Games, I have been lucky enough to have reported, broadcasted and written about the Games in the media, I am vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, I have bid for a Games and helped to deliver one, as well as being involved with the Olympic Movement. I know that Games Makers and volunteers are the difference between a good and a great Games.
For example, as part of the Bridging the Gap programme, the quality of the security team is not just about securing the venue, it is also to interact with people when they are going through that system. These are really important skills and it is important that we get the right people involved.
When we won the right to stage the Games in London, that day is a day which has continued to deliver lasting inspiration and long term legacy. I went to Singapore to get more young people playing sport but I realised there had to be more to it than that. If you have the opportunity of a lifetime to host 205 nations, where the entire eyes of the world are going to be on your country for the build up and the Games itself, then there are going to be bridgeheads and legacies that we would have been very foolish to have ignored. The opportunity to improve our skills base and meet the ambitions of our nation going forward was a very obvious opportunity.
Lord Coe is Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOGOC) and he was talking to Podium reporter Stuart Appleby at the AoC Conference in Birmingham on Wednesday 16th November 2011.
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